Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) president Bill Johnson said the power supplier wants to add a fixed fee on its customers’ bills.
The added fee, Johnson said, would pay for various TVA recovery costs. But, Johnson said TVA’s new fee does not directly correlate to an increase for Memphis Light, Gas & Water customers.
“If they [MLGW] don’t want to mirror these rate changes then they don’t have to,” he said. “It would only directly affect the 154 customers that TVA sells power to.”
The proposal has been described as “nefarious,” Johnson said, “ but it’s far from it.”
If TVA increases its fees and others follow, Johnson believes that high-energy-burdened customers would pay lower bills because TVA would be reducing energy costs.
“If you’re a high energy user and you live in an energy inefficient house, you’re going to save money in this rate design,” he said.
Scott Banbury of the Sierra Club said if fees are based on usage and usage rates are high, people would have more incentive to invest in making energy-efficiency changes to their homes and routines.
“Turn our lights out at night, keep the thermostat low,” he said. “We prefer to see people’s rates based on what they’re using as opposed to a fixed, mandatory fee.”
The fees, Banbury said, are about “debt service” and paying for TVA “clean up.”
Johnson said if the new fee is approved by the TVA board, it would not take effect until October 2019.