August 15, 2022 Home
Every month, each of the 31,000 plus members of Powell Valley Electric Cooperative (PVEC) receives a bill in the mail. That bill lists your total usage of electricity for the month, the dates of the service provided, the average daily use of kilowatt hours for the month, and the amount to pay. There is also a list comparing electricity usage for the past 13 months.
What you don’t see on your electric bill is the breakdown of charges. What you pay depends on what the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) charges PVEC and what PVEC charges. PVEC and every utility in the state of Tennessee gets its power from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). TVA serves 153 local power utilities in seven states, and all these utilities must buy power only from TVA – even if power is available at a cheaper cost through other suppliers on the electric grid.
TVA uses a variety of sources to provide this power, currently: 39% nuclear, 19% coal, 26% natural gas, 11% hydro, 3% wind and solar, and 1% energy efficiency programs. TVA has its own plants for nuclear, coal, and hydro, with minimal wind and solar. TVA gets natural gas through pipelines from outside its service area. Over the course of the summer, the cost of natural gas has reached at least a 14 year high.
How does this affect your bill? As stated above, PVEC (and all other TVA utilities) pays for this power and passes the cost on to its members. The cost paid by TVA changes on a monthly basis, based on a Fuel Cost Adjustment (FCA). This summer, TVA has raised its FCA, causing PVEC and other utilities to pass this increase along to its members. Depending upon how much electricity you use, your monthly household bill may go up by between $10 and $18.
It is important to note that PVEC has not raised its own rates for many years. It is uncertain how long this increased cost from TVA will continue. If you are having trouble paying your electric bill, call 423/732-2739 and ask for information about the Home Energy Assistance Program.
TVA has committed to generating more power through development of its own solar and nuclear power sources. Dependence on outside energy sources like natural gas keeps TVA and utilities and members at the mercy of natural gas companies (which, by the way, are making great profits these days). Should TVA successfully add its own power sources (and it will be a while), electricity costs to power companies like PVEC and costs to members on our monthly bills may stabilize and hopefully decrease.
Everyone needs to learn more about our electric cooperative. For more information, go to pve.coop.