Preparing For A (Likely) Rate Hike

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Knoxville (WVLT) - TVA's board believes we need to go nuclear, or more specifically, re-commit to nuclear, to manage our growing demand for power and the price of providing it.

So it's voted to finish building what could be America’s first new nuke plant of this century: Watts Bar Number Two in Spring City.

TVA figures it would cost almost two and a half billion dollars, but create 2,300 jobs to get it running by the year 2013.

Who'd pay for it?

You, all part of what TVA calls its ten year strategic plans to change how it provides electricity and how we use it.

Volunteer TV’s Gordon Boyd reports that's likely to mean, raising rates, soon.

The how much and the when, TVA president's says he's not sure yet.

The hike, he says, is likely to be in the single digits, but how do you prepare for something short term, when it's all about changing habits long term?

The cost of keeping our cool is impacting a lot more of us.

“This last month it was the highest that it's ever been,” says Julie Mamer of Maryville. “It's very tough to do with four kids running in and out of the house.”

Could be why some of Julie Mamers kids are in Market Square's fountain, rather than indoors in the AC.

We all might want to get more creative considering, “Yes, we will need a rate increase,” says TVA’s Tom Kilgore.

“Any time TVA does any type of rate increase or decrease, KUB will pass it through to its customers, we are not able to absorb any of that cost ourselves,” Jennifer Fern from KUB says.

“I don't know exactly when we'll do anything, but we'll know a lot more information by September,” says Kilgore.

So we, and our favorite eateries and other businesses, have a few weeks to figure out whether we oughta “be setting aside money. Gotta keep cool. Gotta keep warm,” as Jeanne Cervone puts it.

Dr. Rose Houston says even though she’s visiting Knoxville she’s been, “Changing light bulbs to more efficient ones, making sure the insulation is nice and tight.”

Julie says for her, it’s “Limiting teenagers in the shower, that's sort of thing.”

Some folks, particularly environmentalists, claim TVA should have been pushing that all along before reviving nukes or raising rates.

“We really would like to work hand in hand with you to cut down on the demand side, and we think we can do that, we think we can run a campaign to help you with this,” says environmentalist Sarah Smith.

“I'm trying to do that at my house, you should be trying to do that at your house,” TVA President Tom Kilgore says any rate hike is likely to be smaller, if it takes effect sooner, costs are cheaper on the front end.

But what's the magic number to get you to change habit?

“When it affects your wallet, its not so hard to do,” Julie admits.

“I'm glad to have air conditioning,” Jeanne says.

“Regardless of how much it costs?” Boyd asks.

“Regardless!” she says.

KUB has its balanced pay plan, you can find out more about that by following the link below.

The bigger, more philosophical question here, is has TVA, have we, created a vicious cycle?

Cheaper power fuels economic growth. If it’s cheap, we're likely to use more, forcing TVA to shift, or to build more to deal with the rising demand, therefore raising the price we have to pay for it.

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