EPB Budget Will Not Include Electric Rate Increase - Thanks To Fiberoptics; Utility To Begin Solar Sales In July

Friday, May 19, 2017

EPB's upcoming budget will not include an electric rate increase - thanks to the utility's highly successful fiberoptic program.

Greg Eaves, chief financial officer, said the phone, TV and Internet side of the business will transfer about $40 million to the electric side. That will leave electric with more than a $7 million positive gain.

That comes after the fiberoptic debt has been paid down to zero. Mr. Eaves said that was not expected to happen under the original projections until 2024. He said just two years ago it was not envisioned until 2020.

It is expected that fiberoptics will finish the year with about 98,000 customers - far above original projections.

Mr. Eaves said, "We have made $22.2 million on fiberoptics year to date."

Without the fiberoptics cash infusion, electric ratepayers would be facing a seven percent hike this year, it was stated.

David Wade said electric demand is expected to remain flat over the long term, causing distributors and others to look more closely at alternatives, such as solar.

He said EPB will begin selling output from its new solar installation on Holtzclaw Avenue in July. If it sells out quickly, the utility will begin to look at more solar options, he said.

Mr. Wade said EPB is also examining battery storage for power produced at Holtzclaw and at the Airport. He said such installations could be entirely self-sufficient grids - not connected with the main lines. He said the cost for the battery storage was lower than was expected.

Joe Ferguson, board chairman, said many major companies are taking a new look at solar as the cost comes down and improvements are made. He said many firms are going "off the grid" including Tesla's large battery production facility.  

Mr. Wade said solar "remains a very small part of our system, but it is growing."

Also, Mr. Wade said the combination of last year's drought and this year's heavy rain has brought down close to 500 large oak trees. He said the number was just about 50 last year.

The most recent storm cost EPB some $600,000 to clean up.

The EPB board approved a $50 million line of credit from SunTrust Bank - up from the current $25 million.

That is available just in case of unexpected heavy costs - such as the $25 million needed to clean up from the 2012 tornadoes.  

 

 



East Ridge City Council Agrees To Raise For City Court Clerk - Starting In July 2019

The East Ridge City Council has agreed to a raise for the city court clerk position effective July 2019. It would move the current pay of $54,472 up by six percent to $57,740. In addition, the clerk would begin to receive annual raises in line with other city employees. Patricia Cassidy was the first elected clerk with her term beginning  September 2014, and ... (click for more)

Soddy Daisy Continuing To Clean Up Old Spot Zoning Cases

The Soddy Daisy Commission is continuing to do "housekeeping" regarding spot zoning that has been discovered in the city. At the commission meeting Thursday night, a public hearing and first reading of an ordinance took place to change five tracts of land on East Highwater Road, four tracts on Baptist View Drive and one on Old Dayton Pike from C-2 Local Business District to R-1 ... (click for more)

A Tribute For My Brother – Sgt. Jonathan Gardner, U.S. Army

Seven years ago today, my family and I found out that my brother, Sgt. Jonathan D. Gardner, was seriously injured by a roadside bomb, (explosively formed penetrator - EFP), while on a mission in Kuwait. The EFP went through the bottom of his seat and put a softball size hole in his upper thigh. The doctors said that if the bomb had entered the Humvee an inch to the right, he ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Black Telephone

If you have never seen one in an antique store you wouldn’t know that the first telephones were contained in a not-so-small wooden box that had a snout-looking mouth piece and a separate speaker that you would hold on your ear while you talked. This was many years ago when phones were fun as compared to today’s tiny cell phones that rudely interrupt us from the task-at-hand both ... (click for more)

Tankersley One-Hitter Leads Silverdale Past CCS

Silverdale had beaten Chattanooga Christian by a 7-0 final in a   softball game at CCS a few weeks ago, but the Lady Chargers were hoping to turn the tide after allowing just two earned runs in that earlier game. Things didn’t turn out as planned for the Lady Chargers Thursday evening at Silverdale. The Lady Seahawks are a really good hitting team and they showed it ... (click for more)

Fulmer Gets 4-Year Contract As Vols Athletic Director

University of Tennessee Chancellor Beverly Davenport announced Thursday that Director of Athletics Phil Fulmer has signed a four-year contract. Fulmer took over as UT's Director of Athletics on Dec. 1, 2017.   "Phillip has been a great partner over the last four months and I commend him for the work he has done with our student-athletes, coaches and staff," Davenport ... (click for more)