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.


Cleveland Utility Executive Director Says It Will Not Get Into TV Business Because Of Shift To Internet-Based Options

Cleveland Utility Executive Director Ken Webb told the Cleveland City Council on Monday that the utility will not get into the TV business because the landscape is changing so fast. Mr. Webb said, "The TV business as we know it is disappearing quickly. It's going to disappear in the next 5-10 years." Referring to such offerings as Netflix and Amazon Prime, he added, "A video ... (click for more)

Blake Strickland Retires After 37-Year Career At Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union

After serving at the helm of Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union for 16 years, Blake Strickland, president and CEO, will retire at the end of July following a 37-year career at the Credit Union.   Mr. Strickland began his career at TVFCU as the organization’s first marketing employee in 1978 and held several marketing and operational roles before becoming president ... (click for more)

Thousands Line Route For Funeral Procession Of Sailor Slain In Chattanooga Shooting; Wife Sings Song At Funeral She Was Singing When They Met

Thousands of people waving flags and signs again lined the streets and highways of Chattanooga for the second of two local funerals for military personnel slain by a gunman on July 16. And at the funeral service for Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Scott Smith, his wife, Angie, sang the song she was singing the first time they met. She said she was singing "You say it best when ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Man Who Declared He Was "An Innocent Man" On Child Pornography Charges Gets Conviction, 24-Year Sentence Overturned

The Federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the conviction of a Chattanooga man who claimed at his trial and sentencing that he was wrongfully convicted by a jury of possession and distribution of child pornography. James Paul Lowe had been sentenced in May to serve 24 years in federal prison. After the sentencing, he had bid his family goodbye and told them to ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Strong

The hearts, minds and prayers of Tennesseans, and of the entire nation, have been turned toward Chattanooga this month.  We are sickened and saddened by the senseless tragedy, and we grieve for the families of the five service members who were killed, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan, Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, Lance Cpl. Squire “Skip” K. Wells, Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Chanie's Puzzling Poem

Ronnie Joice was in a bar in north London when he spied a poem tacked to the wall. The more he studied it, the more it revealed and, suddenly, he was floored. I don’t need to tell you it has gone viral, cheering people up particularly in England, but it is fun to know it was written by an 11 th -grader at an all-girls school in New York. Chanie Gorkin first posted it on her page ... (click for more)