TVA rate increase on board agenda Friday

The Associated Press

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Tennessee Valley Authority board members will vote Friday on a rate increase that would add between $4 and $7 to monthly bills for residential customers, starting April 1.

TVA increased rates 6.1 percent in October 2003, 7.52 percent in October 2005 and 9.95 percent in April 2006 before a 4.5 percent decrease in October 2006.

If directors approve the midyear increase, TVA rates will have risen almost three times as fast as inflation since October 2005. Over the past two decades, the utility's rates have risen, on average, about 30 percent below the inflation rate, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"The reason for it is we are going to do these long-term investments and meet new power generation," said TVA spokesman Gil Francis. "It is a combination of gas turbine plants and Watts Bar 2 and it is going to allow us to continue to have the resources to keep the lights on. In the long run keep electricity reliable and affordable."

Francis said the rate increase would probably add $4 to $7 to monthly residential bills, depending on how much electricity is used.

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