EPB officials said the success of its phone, Internet and TV services are benefitting customers on the electric side.
Harold DePriest, president said the fiberoptic-based businesses are contributing $19.8 million on an annual basis to the electric budget.
He said without that money, it would equate almost to a four percent rate increase for electric customers.
Mr. DePriest said, "It's been the best investment we have made - not just in terms of dollars, but in understanding the technology and applying it to the electrical side."
He said the fiberoptic "smart grid" is helping EPB get information much more quickly about downed power lines and, in many cases, keep service from going down in bad storms.
Mr. DePriest said the smart grid is helping EPB reduce outages "at least by half."
He said storms typically blow through Hamilton County from west to east and then head for Bradley County, taking 45 minutes to an hour. He said in the past when storms hit at night it might be four-six hours before the utility was notified about specific outages. But he said with the smart grid it has a much better handle on where service is temporarily out.
He said the information also lets EPB better position slow-moving utility repair crews in the center of the hardest-hit areas.
EPB got the benefit of $111 million in federal funding to build the smart grid. Mr. DePriest said $11.4 million of that money is left, "and it will be spent fairly quickly."