Chattanooga, TN (January 24, 2020) – The EPB Board has approved the acceptance of a long-term agreement with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) that reaffirms the lasting partnership between TVA in generating power which EPB purchases for distribution to homes and businesses across the Chattanooga area.
The new long-term agreement extends TVA’s current power generation contract with EPB from a ten-year to a twenty-year agreement while providing a discount on wholesale power and other provisions designed to provide more stability in electric rates for EPB customers. Although the details are still to be worked out, the new agreement also promises to give EPB the flexibility to own up to five percent of the Chattanooga area’s power generation facilities, opening the door for more renewable power generation.
In a presentation to the EPB Board, Jeff Lyash, president & CEO of TVA expressed appreciation to EPB and outlined the benefits of the agreement with a particular focus on the new provisions designed to provide a structure for TVA and EPB to work together to meet customers’ expectations as the energy industry undergoes rapid change.
“We’re proud of this agreement because it strengthens the public power model and directly aligns our interests to better support innovation and energy leadership by providing EPB low-cost electricity and the flexibility they need to serve their customers,” said Lyash. “The long-term partnership allows us to embrace new technologies for EPB’s customers along with the flexibility for EPB to own up to five percent of the electricity generation to directly serve community needs.”
In addition, Lyash expressed TVA’s continuing commitment to investment and employment in the Chattanooga area. “Our workforce in Chattanooga is the heart of TVA’s program,” Lyash said. “Going forward, I see a solid workload for our employees here. If anything, I see a higher demand on TVA’s Chattanooga workforce in the years to come.”
Warren Logan, Board Chair of EPB, highlighted the continuing benefits TVA has brought to our community over many years. “In addition to employing more than 3,000 people in the Chattanooga area, TVA plays a critical role in recruiting new companies and encouraging growth among our existing industries,” Logan said. “In recent years, TVA has reduced its carbon footprint with a power generation mix which provides more than 55 percent of its power with no greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, by utilizing a wide range of power generation technologies, TVA helps insulate EPB from market volatility in fuel costs which helps keep our customers’ electric rates more stable over time.”
According to David Wade, president & CEO of EPB, several months of continuing discussions with TVA were beneficial in reaching the new agreement. “We are particularly encouraged by the conversations we’ve had with TVA about their approach to partnering with us on having greater flexibility for local power generation,” Wade said. “Providing our customers with new energy solutions is a priority for EPB, so we look forward to working with TVA to firm up the details of this program.”
EPB serves the greater Chattanooga area by providing world-class energy and connectivity solutions as a means of promoting economic development and enhancing quality of life for our community. We deliver electricity to more than 170,000 homes and businesses across our 600 square mile service area which includes most of Hamilton County as well as parts of surrounding counties in both Tennessee and Georgia. In 2010, EPB Fiber Optics, which offers internet, TV, and telephone services, became the first provider in the United States to deliver up to 1 Gig (1,000 Mbps) internet speeds utilizing a community-wide fiber optic network which is accessible to every home and business in its service area. In 2015, EPB became the first, and to date, only American ISP to make up to 10 Gig (10,000 Mbps) internet speeds accessible to all of its residential and commercial customers as a standard offer.
EPB has also utilized its community-wide fiber optic network to deploy the most advanced and highly automated smart grid power management system in the nation. In recognition of EPB’s groundbreaking infrastructure, the Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are utilizing EPB’s smart grid as a national model for researching and developing best practices. EPB is also the first major power distribution utility to earn the USGBC’s PEER certification for having a highly automated, modernized electric power grid.
EPB is an independent board of the City of Chattanooga which began serving customers in 1939. Visit EPB.com for more information.