EPB Banking On "Normal Weather", But That Is Not The New Norm

Thursday, June 26, 2014

EPB officials said in the new budget they are hoping for "normal weather," but that has not been the norm in recent years.

Harold DePriest, EPB president, said in earlier years the utility spent about $2 million per year for storm damage caused by volatile weather.

But in recent years that number has soared, including the over $30 million spent in the year of the deadly tornadoes - 2011. EPB's cost, after FEMA payments, was $9 million for 2011.

EPB now budgets $4.2 million for annual storm cleanup.

Mr. DePriest said the high cost of storm damage has been a big blow to the electric budget. But he said the surge of income from the utility's newer businesses has more than made up for it.

EPB brought in $27 million from the non-electrical side this year.

Mr. DePriest said without that new-found income, "We would be looking at a five percent electric rate increase this year."

There are currently 64,000 customers for phone, TV and Internet, and it is expected to rise to over 70,000 by the end of the coming fiscal year.

The original model for the side businesses was to have at least 43,000 sign up.

Board Chairman Joe Ferguson said the board needs to get a handle on the appropriations it gives to groups in the community that promote economic development. He asked that the staff compile a list of those currently receiving funds and those expected to make requests.

EPB has been a big contributor to the Chamber of Commerce for its economic development efforts, including the period when it was courting Volkswagen.

Kim White of the River City Company recently asked EPB to provide $25,000 per year over the next four years to go for staff salaries.

Officials said the line item for such requests has been raised from $300,000 to $330,000.


Michael Williams Has Law License Suspended

Michael Gregory Williams, of Hamilton County, was suspended from the practice of law on Thursday by Order of the Tennessee Supreme Court for four years.  The suspension will begin on Nov. 9. A Petition for Discipline was filed on Oct. 30, 2013, alleging that Mr. Williams had misappropriated funds from an estate for which he had been appointed administrator and had failed ... (click for more)

Browns Ferry Unit 1 Completes Refueling, Back Online

The Unit 1 reactor at the TVA’s Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant returned to service at 8:16 p.m. CDT on Wednesday, following the successful completion of a planned refueling and maintenance outage.  Plant operators will be raising power over the next several days until the unit once again achieves full power. “The Browns Ferry team worked hard to refuel and prepare Unit 1 for ... (click for more)

Downtown Chattanooga Apartment Complex That Brought $3 Million Profit Exempt From Most Taxes Until 2022 Under PILOT

A downtown Chattanooga apartment complex that recently was sold at a $3 million profit is exempt from most property taxes through 2022 under a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement.   No payment of school taxes was included in the deal for Walnut Commons at Walnut Street and Aquarium Way.   The only taxes due on the property for the next eight ... (click for more)

Cold, Wet Front To Make For Chilly And Damp Trick Or Treating; Snow Showers Possible Saturday

A surge of cold, moist air will make for less-than-ideal trick or treat conditions on Halloween night. Temperatures are expected to dip below freezing this weekend. There is a possibility of snow showers in Chattanooga on Saturday. Here is the latest forecast: Today Showers likely, mainly after 5pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 58. Calm wind becoming northwest ... (click for more)

Thanks For Publishing The Stokes Photo Book

I pre-ordered the Stokes Photo Book and picked it up Wednesday . The covers and content are very high quality and contain photos you will not see anywhere else.  This book of photos is worth much more than $35.  I have seen many historic photos of my hometown Chattanooga, but this collection is amazing. My favorites are National Cemetery, Confederate Cemetery near ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Saban: ‘Ratings Don’t Matter’

When the first College Football Playoff rankings were released earlier this week, Alabama football coach Nick Saban got it right on the button when he shrugged, “I don't even care, to be honest with you." "To me, none of it matters, What does it matter?” he laughed at the Tide’s No. 6 ranking. “I mean, it only matters where you end up at the end. So what matters to us is how ... (click for more)