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TVA board approves October rate increase

On Monday, Aug. 8, the Tennessee Valley Authority board met in Knoxville. During this meeting, directors approved a $12 billion budget that includes the completion of the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant in Alabama and a $234 million wholesale rate increase.

To the average [Cooperative Name] residential member (using 1,500 kilowatt-hours per month), this will result in an average increase of $1.60 to the monthly electric bills.

Wholesale power is the largest expense for [Cooperative Name]. In 2010, we paid TVA more than [wholesale power cost for energy]. On average, [percentage] percent of our annual revenue is used to maintain the poles, wires and substations and pay the employees who deliver power to our members. The other [percentage] percent goes to TVA. So even the smallest change in TVA’s rates impacts our co-op in a big way.

TVA is facing real challenges.

More than 50 percent of the energy TVA generates comes from coal. When you consider average age, its 59 coal units are the oldest in the nation and have higher-than-normal maintenance costs.

TVA has spent millions to retrofit its coal fleet to comply with environmental regulations, but additional upgrades are needed. Recent lawsuits filed by environmental groups have pushed costs even higher.

TVA has concluded that the risks and expenses of coal are too great to consider it a long-term solution to the Valley’s energy needs.
With the need to replace coal generation and develop new sources, the TVA board approved the completion of the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant near Scottsboro, Ala. While this move reduces our dependence on coal and provides a source of reliable, carbon-free generation, it does bear a hefty price tag — approximately $4.9 billion.

Despite these challenges, TVA is making decisions now that will help it provide reliable energy for years to come and investing more than $200 million to help homes and business in the Valley use energy more efficiently.  You can learn more about energy-efficiency programs and rebates on our website at [co-opwebsite.com].

Regardless of the changes taking place in our industry and the world around us, you can be confident that [Cooperative Name] is working to protect the interests of our member-owners.

Slaying energy vampires

Did you know that you’re sharing your home with “energy vampires” — electronic devices that continue to suck electricity even when turned off? On average, these items are responsible for an estimated 10 percent of the electricity you use every month. Here’s a tip from [YOUR CO-OP NAME HERE] that can help you drive a stake through the heart of these vampires, saving energy and money:

One way to identify  energy vampires is to look for devices with remote controls — TVs, DVRs and audio equipment, for example. Then target gaming consoles, computers, monitors and printers as well as chargers for cells phones, iPods, small DVD players and laptops. Plugged-in chargers draw energy even when they’re not charging anything.

An easy way to seal the coffin on energy vampires is to plug components of your  computer or home entertainment system into a power strip. With a single flip of a switch, you can fully cut power to them.

In addition, don’t forget to unplug any appliances — such as coffee makers and toaster ovens — with digital clocks when you aren’t using them. As TogetherWeSave.com has shown, pulling plugs and employing power strips can save you $222 on electric bills per year
For other tips on how to save energy — and money — visit [www.energysavers.gov OR Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives energy-saving website, www.TogetherWeSave.com,] or call the efficiency experts at [YOUR CO-OP NAME AND NUMBER].

Don’t let electrical hazards haunt Halloween

  • Halloween is the most festively frightening night of the year. But don’t make yours fraught with danger. Here are some safety reminders:
  • As you’re decorating, make sure you and your parents check for cracked sockets; frayed, loose or bare wires; and loose connections.
  • Fasten all outdoor lights securely to trees and other firm supports. Do not use nails or tacks that could puncture insulating cords and damage wires.
  • Make sure decorative lighting is well-ventilated, protected from weather and remains a safe distance from anything flammable like dry leaves and shrubs. Do not coil extension cords while in use or tuck them under rugs or drapes.
  • Make sure all outdoor electrical lights and decorations are plugged into an outlet protected with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). If your outlets aren’t equipped with GFCIs, have an electrician install them, or buy a GFCI adapter plug. Don’t overload outlets with too many extension cords and strands of lights.
  • Keep power cords off walkways and porches that trick-or-treaters may use. You don’t want them to trip.
  • Have Mom or Dad leave the porch light on for trick-or-treaters, and be sure to turn off all spooky lights and decorations before leaving home or going to bed. This will also save energy.

For more tips, visit www.SafeElectricity.org.



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