JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — BrightRidge customers will see their electricity bills increase by about 9% starting next month because of a Tennessee Valley Authority “fuel cost adjustment.”
A BrightRidge news release Wednesday said the utility’s board of directors approved holding its own rates flat for the fourth straight year, but a home using 1,300-kilowatt hours of electricity in a month will see its bill jump by about $15.41.
“This is a very tough operating environment, yet our customers can know that at the retail electric level, we are doing all we can to manage booming inflation while holding power costs down,” BrightRidge CEO Jeff Dykes said. “Unfortunately, we have no control over the rapidly rising cost of natural gas and other fuels TVA uses to generate the electricity we purchase and distribute locally.”
BrightRidge spokesman Tim Whaley told News Channel 11 the current monthly bill for using 1,300 kwh is $168.06. The $15.41 figure is an estimate, but if it holds, it would represent a 9% increase for a customer using that much power.
The BrightRidge release said the fuel cost adjustment has reached an all-time high.
In addition to holding its own electricity rates flat, the board voted to keep BrightRidge’s broadband charges the same. The utility now expects to complete its broadband rollout two years ahead of schedule, “while serving far more customers than originally planned, including major additions in both rural Washington County customers, and adding Colonial Heights to the buildout plan,” the release said.
CEO Jeff Dykes said BrightRidge is accelerating phases five and six of the broadband rollout. He added that the broadband offering is seeing “strong take rates” from eligible customers so far.
The new budget includes an overall operating expense increase of 5.8% and employee wage increases of 4.5%.
Transformer costs are expected to more than triple, while the utility also plans rebuilds of two substations and construction of an $800,000 solar lab at its Boones Creek headquarters.