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TVA rate hike starts today

A new utility bill rate hike begins today.

Tennessee Valley Authority is increasing its wholesale rate 1.5 percent, starting today, to generate funds for system improvements. It will cause a roughly 1.7 percent increase for North East Mississippi Electric Power Association customers, said CEO Keith Hayward.

“The average customer uses 1,250 kilowatt hours a month, which is about $2 a month extra on their bills, which is strictly the wholesale being passed through,” Hayward said.

Hayward said North East’s board of directors decided to only pass on the TVA wholesale rate increase and not any extra costs. North East serves about 600,000 customers in the region. TVA provides power for 9 million customers.

Oxford Electric Department also said it is passing along the 1.5 percent retail increase and anticipates residential customers paying about $1.50 more a month and commercial users about $2 a month.

One way to save money, Hayward said, is to adjust the thermostat or not use appliances like a stove or washer and dryer during peak use hours, which is when TVA charges more for power. From April through October that is from about 1 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Peak hours in November through March are generally 4 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday.

In addition to the wholesale rate increase, TVA is implementing a new Strategic Pricing Plan (SPP) that alters how TVA charges North East Mississippi Electric Power Association for wholesale power. The SPP’s goal is to better align the cost of making or buying power at certain times of the day and year with those customer classes who are driving the need for power at those times.

In putting the SPP together, TVA found that industrial customers were paying more than they should in rates, so some of that has shifted to smaller commercial and residential customers, resulting in a small increase.

TVA’s $10.7 billion 2016 fiscal year budget includes capital projects aimed at reducing operating and maintenance costs and system improvements.

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NEMEPA changing to LED lights

Staff report

In an attempt to become even more energy efficient, North East Mississippi Electric Power Association is changing its standard yard light to an LED light. This change will be made on all new installs or repairs.

The high-pressure sodium bulbs that are currently being used have an approximate five-year life expectancy, whereas the new LED bulb is in the range of 20 years for life expectancy.

The traditional incandescent bulbs produces light by passing current through a wire filament, heating it until it glows. This technology had not changed for 100 years until LED bulbs made their way to the market.

LED bulbs use semiconductor technology that releases energy in the form of photons. This effect is call electroluminescense and is a much more energy efficient technology. Manager of Engineering and Operations, Randall Abel said, “The initial capital cost up front is nearly double for the LED light, but the energy use is less than half. When we evaluated the capital cost versus the energy use for the life of the light, we save our members money, so the LED light is actually a little less expensive each month.”