EPB Budget Will Not Include Electric Rate Increase - Thanks To Fiberoptics; Utility To Begin Solar Sales In July

Friday, May 19, 2017

EPB's upcoming budget will not include an electric rate increase - thanks to the utility's highly successful fiberoptic program.

Greg Eaves, chief financial officer, said the phone, TV and Internet side of the business will transfer about $40 million to the electric side. That will leave electric with more than a $7 million positive gain.

That comes after the fiberoptic debt has been paid down to zero. Mr. Eaves said that was not expected to happen under the original projections until 2024. He said just two years ago it was not envisioned until 2020.

It is expected that fiberoptics will finish the year with about 98,000 customers - far above original projections.

Mr. Eaves said, "We have made $22.2 million on fiberoptics year to date."

Without the fiberoptics cash infusion, electric ratepayers would be facing a seven percent hike this year, it was stated.

David Wade said electric demand is expected to remain flat over the long term, causing distributors and others to look more closely at alternatives, such as solar.

He said EPB will begin selling output from its new solar installation on Holtzclaw Avenue in July. If it sells out quickly, the utility will begin to look at more solar options, he said.

Mr. Wade said EPB is also examining battery storage for power produced at Holtzclaw and at the Airport. He said such installations could be entirely self-sufficient grids - not connected with the main lines. He said the cost for the battery storage was lower than was expected.

Joe Ferguson, board chairman, said many major companies are taking a new look at solar as the cost comes down and improvements are made. He said many firms are going "off the grid" including Tesla's large battery production facility.  

Mr. Wade said solar "remains a very small part of our system, but it is growing."

Also, Mr. Wade said the combination of last year's drought and this year's heavy rain has brought down close to 500 large oak trees. He said the number was just about 50 last year.

The most recent storm cost EPB some $600,000 to clean up.

The EPB board approved a $50 million line of credit from SunTrust Bank - up from the current $25 million.

That is available just in case of unexpected heavy costs - such as the $25 million needed to clean up from the 2012 tornadoes.  

 

 



Former Chamber Leader Ron Harr Is First New Contender To Apply For Rep. McCormick's Seat

Former Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce leader Ron Harr is the first new candidate for the House District 26 seat vacated by former House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick. Mr. Harr was a longtime official at BlueCross Blue Shield. He picked up for the Republican primary. Rep. McCormick, who has bought a house in Nashville, unexpectedly pulled out of the race on Monday. ... (click for more)

Westside Resident Comes Home To Find Her Residence Ransacked, Vontel Haddox Sleeping On The Couch

A woman who was gone from her home on the Westside for several days said she returned to find Vontel Deon Haddox sleeping on her couch. She said Haddox told her he had been staying there with "Veronica." The woman said she checked her bedroom and that of her daughters and found they had been ransacked.  She said when she went to confront Haddox he left out of the front ... (click for more)

Never Replacing Claude Ramsey But Following His Example

When Claude made his decision not to seek reelection as the 26th District state representative I made my intention known to seek the office following him.  Immediately opponents from both parties began to qualify for that opportunity.  With Bill Bennett as my campaign manager and many of Claude’s supporters going door to door into the community, as Claude had done in his ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Participation Trophies

You may remember several years back when James Harrison, a linebacker for the Steelers at the time, came home to discover his two sons, who were then ages 8 and 6, had received “participation trophies” on a sports team. Harrison, who earned his way into the NFL (he was not drafted out of Kent State yet played in five Pro Bowls), promptly loaded his sons and the bogus trophies in ... (click for more)

Ooltewah Swimmers Beat Signal Mountain For First Time

The Ooltewah Tidal Waves had another outstanding performance at their pool Monday night. They knocked off Stuart Heights on Thursday in a battle of unbeaten in the Chattanooga Area Swim League’s Blue division and they added another monumental win four days later as they defeated Signal Mountain for the first time ever. The Tidal Waves led from the opening freestyle event and ... (click for more)

CFC Wins 2-0 At Inter Nashville FC

Chattanooga FC remained undefeated in NPSL play Wednesday night, beating Inter Nashville FC 2-0 in Nashville.   David Valenciano had CFC's first goal late in the first half.  Jose "Zeca" Ferraz scored the second goal minutes before the final whistle.  This is the fourth road game in the last two weeks and they play their final rode game at New ... (click for more)