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Combat cold and power bills

On Oct. 1, utility companies passed along a rate increase to customers in the Tennessee Valley Association service area.

TVA raised its wholesale rate 1.5 percent in order to find funding for $3 billion in capital investments for generating plants and system improvements.

TVA said it reduced operating and maintenance costs by $500 million, but the cost of transmission and generation projects to keep up with federal regulations are causing a price hike.

While TVA said its rate hike is less than other utility providers, it will help the power generator cut carbon emissions by 40 percent from 2005 levels into the year 2020, which puts it in compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s new Clean Power Plan requirements.

While the temperatures are dipping right now and feeling like fall, the 80-degree days will return later in the week. But not for long. It’s time to get ready for fall.

Cut your heat on and check and see if it works. Perhaps you can get the heating unit service professional in before it gets too cold to be without heat.

Unfortunately, there are some elderly and residents in Oxford and Lafayette County who don’t have the income to turn up the heat the way they should. Instead, they cover up in blankets or resort to heating up the house with the oven. Hearing news about a TVA rate increase will only compound their frustration and fear of the monthly bill.

Heating your house in a way other than using a proper heat source causes large percentage of house fires each year. The ushering in of cold weather in October is great timing for the National Fire Safety Month. The Oxford Fire Department is creating fire safety events to teach children and residents more about what to do in case of a fire, and you can see more on Page 1C.

If you encounter a friend or neighbor struggling to make ends meet and fearful of the price hike, remember the price increase equates to about $2 a month for a residential customer. There are programs where you can round up your bill and pay a little extra to utility providers to help a neighbor in need. Feeling super generous? You can contact a utility provider and put money toward a resident’s bill anonymously.

Can’t give money? Invite your neighbor over for a hot meal where they can warm up in your home. You could make a lifelong friend.