LCUB announces 9 percent rate hike

Lenoir City Utilities Board unanimously approved passing along a nine percent rate increase from TVA, to be effective Oct. 1.

“We can’t absorb this,” LCUB general manager Fred Nelson said at the Board’s meeting, Monday, Sept. 21.

Nelson said TVA had been discussing the rate increase for months, a majority of which was stemming from the ash spill in Kingston and the Clean Air Act.

“They’re raising base rates by nine percent. … At the time, we can’t absorb it,” Nelson said.

Nelson said other area utilities also were passing the rate increase along to their customers.

TVA has issued statements that, while it is increasing base rates, it is also passing along an 11 percent decline in the fuel adjustment charge.

Joel Garber, former Farragut alderman and LCUB Board member, asked Nelson about that fuel surcharge.

Nelson said in meetings over the past months, TVA had agreed to adjust the fuel surcharge monthly instead of quarterly. In other words, changes in fuel costs would be reflected more quickly in the fuel surcharge, whether gas prices rise or fall.

“It’s like the market, it’s whatever the market does,” Nelson said.

“[But] it will be dropping. … It will be lower on the next [bill],” he added.

That could mean lower rates overall for customers, if the fuel surcharge drop offsets the base rate hike. Nelson stressed these charges are passed by TVA and simply passed on to customers by LCUB.