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Tennessee among states hardest hit by EPA regulations

Tennessee’s electric cooperatives call for consumers to take action.

NASHVILLE – Tennessee’s electric cooperatives express concern following the release of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed guidelines that will limit emissions from thousands of existing power plants, including 11 coal plants operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority.

“Estimates indicate that Tennessee will be among the hardest hit by the state requirements, calling for a 38 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030,” says David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “These regulations will hurt Tennessee families, and we are just beginning to understand how severe the impacts will be.”

Tennessee has already taken significant steps to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. “The average monthly residential energy use in Tennessee has fallen 16 percent since 2010, and TVA has reduced its carbon emissions by 30 percent since 2005,” says Callis.

“It is important that we make our voices heard. Affordable energy and a strong Tennessee economy depend on an all-of-the-above approach to energy generation.”

The EPA will hold a 120-day public comment period, and you can submit your comments to the EPA by visiting takeactionTN.com.

“The economic challenges faced by many cooperative members make it critical that EPA regulatory programs be cost effective and provide environmental benefits that exceed the implementation and compliance costs,” says Callis.

The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association is a trade group representing the interests of Tennessee’s 23 electric distribution cooperatives and the 1.1 million rural and suburban consumers they serve. The association publishes The Tennessee Magazine and provides legislative and support services to Tennessee’s electric cooperatives. Learn more at tnelectric.org.

 

Contact:
Trent Scott | tscott@tnelectric.org | 731.608.1519

Extreme Winter Weather Will Push Energy Bills Higher

The extreme winter weather conditions being experienced in the Tennessee Valley in January have resulted in record energy usage that will ultimately impact end-use power consumers through higher — perhaps significantly higher — power bills in February and March.

Earlier this month, an arctic weather system — recognized as a polar vortex by the National Weather Service — passed through the region, causing record-setting cold temperatures that resulted in an average of 4.2 degrees across the Valley on Tuesday, Jan. 7. On that day, energy usage on TVA’s system set an all-time record over a 24-hour period with 703 million kilowatt-hours used. We are pleased to report that despite these extreme weather conditions, thousands of local power company and TVA employees working together met this record demand with no major power outages or issues to the electric system.

With colder temperatures expected to continue in the weeks ahead, there are a number of steps power consumers can take to keep energy usage and costs down:

  1. Turn down your thermostat to 68 degrees or lower. For every degree you lower your heat in the 60-degree to 70-degree range, you’ll save up to 5 percent on heating costs.
  2. Set the thermostat back to 55 degrees when leaving home for an extended time. Please note that heat pumps should only be set back 2 degrees to prevent unneeded use of backup strip heating, which carries higher costs.
  3. Check air filters. Dirty air filters increase your energy usage and can also damage your heating. Be sure to use filters approved for your specific system.
  4. Caulk around windows and replace old weather stripping around doors to keep the cold air out.
  5. Reduce cold-air drafts around windows — typically seen in older homes — by using heavy-duty, clear plastic sheets or tape clear plastic film inside your windows. Ensure the plastic is sealed tightly to reduce cold-air drafts.
  6. Close your fireplace damper when not in use.
  7. Schedule service for your heating system, and ask what maintenance is required to keep it running optimally. Keep up with maintenance milestones.
  8. Open curtains on your south-facing windows on sunny days to naturally heat your home with sunlight. Close the curtains at night to reduce any chill or drafts.

You can find additional energy-saving suggestions by visiting TVA’s Energy Right Solutions website at http://www.energyright.com.