Article Comment 

CL&W customers face 9 percent rate increase


Neal Wagner



A recent announcement by the Tennessee Valley Authority could lead to a nearly double-digit rate increase for Columbus Light and Water Department customers. 


Because TVA officials last week announced the regional power agency is expecting a $7.2 billion budget shortfall between October and 2012, TVA may raise its rates by up to 9 percent over the next few years, members of the CL&W board of directors announced during a Thursday meeting. 


As CL&W is a local TVA electricity distributor, local utility officials will pass on any rate increases to Columbus customers, CL&W board members said. 


"For the new TVA budget beginning in October, they are projecting a $7.2 billion shortfall between fiscal years ''10 to 2012," said CL&W General Manager Todd Gale. "TVA says the biggest reasons for the projected shortfall are down sales, environmental issues and pension plans. They have twice as many retirees as they do employees. 


"The federal government a while back put a cap on how much TVA can borrow, and they are almost at that cap now," Gale added.  


If TVA attempted to compensate for the entire $7.2 billion shortfall through rates over the next three years, local customers would see about a 19 percent increase. However, TVA officials said they plan to fund about $2.5 billion of the projected shortfall through rates. 


By funding $2.5 billion through rates, TVA would raise its rates by 8 or 9 percent, Gale explained. The increase likely would bring about a $10 increase on a typical $100 electric bill, Gale explained. 


"Our rate payers have to pay for their pension plans? That doesn''t make any sense," said CL&W Chairman Jabari Edwards. "I think that just boils down to poor management on TVA''s part. 


"We will catch the flak locally on this because this rate increase is being shoved down our throats," Edwards added. "We don''t have any choice but to pass it, and we don''t really have any leverage in the situation." 


Although CL&W voted to pass along the TVA rate increase, local customers may not see higher bills until next summer, Gale explained. 


TVA each quarter adjusts its fuel cost fee based on the agency''s cost of producing power, among other factors. Because TVA recently announced its fuel cost fee in October will decrease by 11 percent, CL&W customers Oct. 1 likely will see about a 3 percent decrease, Gale said. 


"They do the adjustment quarterly on the FCA (fuel cost adjustment)," Gale said. "When they increased it last quarter, they overcollected. Now, they will take that overcollection and spread it over the next nine months. 


"The FCA will go down 11 percent in October, but the decrease will then go down to 3 percent and then 1 percent before customers start seeing higher bills in June," Gale added.




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Reader Comments

Article Comment John in East columbus commented at 8/21/2009 1:38:00 PM:

what are the senor citizen going to do. first no cost of living in Jan. now $ 2.00 increase in garbbage in Oct. and now electric increase coming, gas going nup again. insurance going up in jan. food going up all year. thewre is no way we can get ahead. we only put less then 3,000 miles on are car in the last year to save cost. what ealse do we need to do. ???


Article Comment concerned commented at 8/21/2009 1:59:00 PM:

Join the TeaParty and help us voice our concerns about what our local government, state government, U.S. congress and the Whitehouse is doing to us.


Article Comment Thom Geiger commented at 8/21/2009 2:12:00 PM:

CL&W can say what it wants, but citizens should remember these increases when the mayor and city council want CL&W customers to pay the legal costs for pushing their annexation plans. How about Mr. Edwards, has the CL&W board already signed on to foot the bill for fighting the lawsuits, or are you going to claim you can't talk about it?


Article Comment Sara commented at 8/21/2009 2:23:00 PM:

By all means, let's make sure that TVA makes a profit. Doesn't matter at what expense to the public. Don't want those shareholders to do without.


Article Comment Carol commented at 8/21/2009 3:34:00 PM:

Maybe with an increase they will clean and mow the lot they own behind my property. Snakes, and rats, have been coming in my yard.The only mow it every couple of years and I am ready to take action if they don't do something. Pay increase my foot.


Article Comment 8mechanic commented at 8/22/2009 11:55:00 AM:

Dave Ramsey taught me a word! You put your tongue to the roof of your mouth and breath out. The word comes out like 'NO'!!!


Article Comment TD commented at 8/23/2009 9:51:00 PM:

Let me see if I'm reading this right.

The cost of being politically correct is 9% -- sales are down (conservation) and environmental issues (the Al Gore tree lovers).


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