LCUB approves 2014 budget

Lenoir City Utilities Board approved its fiscal year 2014 budget for the electric department, which includes no rate increase, at its Tuesday, June 25 meeting.

“We’re not going to be building at a rapid rate, as we did in the past years, but we are going to be building,” LCUB general manager M. Shannon Littleton said. “And I also think that planned properly and the support of this board will go to finance our future endeavors without an adverse effect on ratepayers, so I think that’s something that we’re very proud of.”

Littleton mentioned last year’s reduction of rates by the board, though he did not recommend that for this budget.

“Although these budgets are tight, they’re on purpose,” Littleton said. “We’re making plans for the future. We’re spending money on the system. We’re putting investment in the system.”

He called the electric budget aggressive.“For the third year in a row, we are investing a tremendous amount of money in the electrical system,” he said. “For lack of better terms, I hate to use clichés, but trying to make the system bulletproof, if you will. We can essentially switch from any place on our system to keep customers in power during a failure of any nature. I’m very pleased about that.”

“I’m also pleased that we’re able to accomplish this goal without having any type of rate increase or negative rate impact on the customers.”

Voltage regulation has been completed at all substations, he said.

“Voltage regulation is where, if you have a peaking at a substation or peaking for demand on a substation, you can actually reduce voltage to lower the price of the wholesale purchase that we’re making to TVA,” he said. “What that actually does, in turn, it slows down, if you will, the flow of electricity, and a customer could actually see a reduction at that time, but where the real reduction comes in is our wholesale bill with TVA. It’s a significant amount of money. For the most part, customer would not even notice it happened, but you can’t do it long term for many reasons, engineering reasons and financial reasons.”

Littleton praised his staff.

“The staff that I have has done a tremendous job on spending money appropriately and where it should be spent,” he said. “In turn, what that does is make sure the ratepayers don’t see an increase on the utility bill.”
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