Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation alerts residential and commercial members to expect higher electric bills due to record-setting temperatures and an increase in Tennessee Valley Authority's Fuel Cost Adjustment (FCA).
On July 1, TVA's FCA will cost 2 cents per kilowatt-hour more than last July. Families who use 1,000 kilowatts each month will see an average increase of $20.73 on their electric bill compared to July 2021. TVA Fuel Cost refers to the variable cost of the fuels TVA uses to power coal plants, natural gas, and nuclear facilities that generate electricity. Upper Cumberland EMC is a distribution cooperative that buys power for its members from TVA. UCEMC does not retain any portion of this rate. 100% of the FCA goes to TVA. The FCA has remained steady for several years, but supply chain issues and inflation have caused the price to climb since this Spring. TVA's Scott Brooks says the higher fuel rate is due to higher commodity prices. "Recently, there has been persistent upward and volatile movement in worldwide natural gas markets," says Brooks. "The monthly fuel cost will likely remain elevated for upcoming months."
Usage is one of the biggest drivers of electric bills. To help save, TVA recommends raising the thermostat and not using heat-generating appliances such as ovens, stoves, and clothes dryers during the hottest hours of the day between 12 p.m. and 8. p.m.
"We're advising our members to conserve power to keep their costs down," says Jennifer Brogdon, General Manager and CEO of Upper Cumberland EMC. "You pay for only what you use, and members who use less than average in this heat wave will see the savings on their monthly bill. For the third year in a row, UCEMC's Board recently approved a rate reduction to pass along TVA's pandemic recovery wholesale bill credit to help offer relief to our members during this challenging time."
This month has seen record-breaking days for the TVA system, the 7th highest June peak in TVA history. UCEMC's residential rates are among the lowest in the nation, falling 25% below the national average.
UCEMC is owned by those it serves, with more than 51,000 cooperative members and more than 4,600 miles of power lines running through service areas in Smith, Putnam, Jackson, and Overton counties and fringe areas of DeKalb, Macon, Wilson, White, Clay, Fentress, and Pickett counties.