MTE members can expect higher than normal bills this summer as the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) Fuel Cost Adjustment charge remains up, thanks primarily to much higher natural gas prices.
“As compared to last summer’s bills, we calculate the impact of the higher TVA charges to mean an average monthly increase of about $12 for residential members,” said Chris Jones, MTE’s CEO. “If you consume more than an average amount of electricity, that amount will be higher; and if you consume less than average, it will be less.
“We wish that it were otherwise, but MTE has no control over the FCA. It is a direct pass-through, meaning that every penny we collect for this goes straight to TVA.”
TVA uses the FCA to help manage fluctuations in the costs of fuels it uses to generate electricity. The FCA has been steady for several years, but with global supply and inflation issues, the FCA has been higher the last several months.
“Increased natural gas prices is the biggest culprit,” Jones said. “TVA generates about 25 percent of its electricity by burning natural gas. Prices for natural gas are way up all over the world.”
Despite these changes, Jones said Middle Tennessee Electric’s residential rates rank among the lowest in the nation, more than 25 percent below the national average. Minus the fuel cost adjustment, MTE’s energy charge has been virtually the same for the past 10 years. In fact, MTE has not had a rate increase to benefit the cooperative’s revenues in more than 15 years.
“All electric companies are seeing these same issues from their suppliers,” he said. “Despite facing inflationary pressures, I’m proud to report our electric rates are even more competitive when compared to others, and we intend to keep it that way.
To help counter these increases, MTE encourages members to use the myMTEMC app to monitor their electricity usage.
Other energy-saving tips include:
- Set your thermostat at the highest comfortable temperature. The smaller the temperature difference between your home and outdoors, the lower your cooling costs will be.
- Keep blinds, shades and curtains closed during the hottest parts of the day to prevent sunlight from heating your home.
- Stoves and ovens can raise a kitchen’s temperature as much as 10 degrees. Use an outdoor grill or microwave as much as possible to keep the temperature down.
- Limit chores that produce heat and moisture, like cooking, cleaning, ironing, and laundry, to the cooler early morning and evening hours as much as possible.
- Turn off any unnecessary lights. Much of the energy consumed by light bulbs is emitted as heat, driving already warm temperatures even higher.
- Wear thin, loose-fitting clothing around the house to stay comfortable without keeping the room temperature low.
- Run ceiling fans counterclockwise, forcing air to move straight down. Even mild air movement can make a room feel three to four degrees cooler.
To save more energy and money, MTE has a team of energy efficiency experts ready to help members manage their electric use. Go to mte.com for more information about our energy services programs or contact 877-777-9020 to speak to your trusted energy advisor.
More about TVA and the FCA
TVA generates the electricity used by nearly 10 million consumers across the seven-state Tennessee Valley. TVA sells its power to 153 local power companies (like MTE) that in turn distribute the power to the homes and businesses of the Valley.
As the fuel costs vary from month to month, TVA uses the FCA to pass along increases and decreases in fuel costs to customers. The FCA calculation works by capturing the difference between the amount that TVA forecasts to pay for fuel during a given month and the amount collected through rates.
TVA began using the FCA in October 2006 after a spike in fuel costs caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita the previous year. The FCA ensures TVA recovers costs as they occur, helping TVA better match its revenues to expenses as a not-for-profit energy producer.
Like every other power company in the Tennessee Valley, MTE has no control over the fuel cost adjustment, and it is a penny-for-penny pass-through – every penny collected for the FCA goes directly to TVA.
About Middle Tennessee Electric (MTE)
Founded in 1936, MTE is the largest electric cooperative in the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) region and the second largest in the United States, serving more than 750,000 Tennesseans via 320,000+ accounts covering nearly 2,200 square miles in 11 Middle Tennessee counties, primarily Rutherford, Cannon, Williamson and Wilson. Municipalities served include Murfreesboro, Franklin, Brentwood, Smyrna, La Vergne, Lebanon and Mt. Juliet. MTE employs 520 people in seven local offices and its Murfreesboro corporate headquarters.
MTE’s subsidiary, United Communications, is a nationally recognized broadband company with a fiber network spanning more than 1,200 route miles providing high-speed internet and other services to portions of Williamson, Rutherford, Marshall, Bedford, Franklin, and Davidson counties.