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20 May 2022 · 3 min. read

EPB plans to hold Electric Rates Steady without Increase and works to add more Solar Generation to keep Future Electric Rates Low

Chattanooga, TN (May 20, 2022) – In a presentation to the EPB Board, David Wade, EPB President & CEO, unveiled a budget that does not include an increase in EPB’s portion of the electric rate for at least a year. The community-based provider has held its electric rates steady since 2015. During the same meeting, the EPB Board authorized the municipal utility to negotiate the final points of a contract with a private solar operator that would save a little more than $1 million in wholesale purchased power costs on an annual basis.

“At a time, when our customers are facing inflation and much higher fuel costs, we will continue to work hard to steward our community’s resources to keep electric rates as low as possible for the people we serve,” Wade said. “Utilizing locally generated solar power gives us a new option for reducing the need for future rate increases.”

In response to EPB’s request for private solar companies to submit proposals for local solar generation, EDF Renewables (EDFR) has submitted a plan to construct and operate two solar deployments with a generating capacity of 15 MW. If EPB and EDFR can reach final terms, EPB would purchase the solar power and Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) EDFR generates through the project.

EPB has operated the Solar Share community solar field since 2017. The opportunity for EPB to utilize additional local power generation resources is part of EPB’s Power Supply Flexibility Agreement with TVA which was established in 2020. Under that agreement, EPB has the flexibility to own or locally source up to 5% of the Chattanooga area’s power generation.

The proposed project with EDFR would represent a little less than one-fifth of EPB’s total power generation flexibility under the agreement.

“This is a small but important step in our effort to keep costs lower for our customers,” Wade said. “It also represents the opportunity to further reduce carbon emissions. In addition to helping keep our air cleaner, more and more companies are investing and creating jobs where they have the best access to electricity generated without carbon emissions.”

According to TVA, its power generation mix provides more than 55% of its power with no greenhouse gas emissions.

“Utilizing more locally sourced solar, allows us to further improve our record on reducing carbon emissions with the aim of attracting new business activity as part of our mission to support growth in our local economy and enhance our community’s quality of life,” Wade said.

EPB offers a number of resources for customers interested in learning more and supporting local solar power generation. The EPB Energy Pros provide free, expert guidance to customers who are considering their own solar installation. They will also recommend reputable solar companies with a proven track-record for credibility and review the proposals local people receive from solar contractors to help them understand the proposal and ensure accuracy. Request a free expert guidance on solar and everything else related to energy efficiency and savings at epb.com/energypros.

EPB customers can also participate in Solar Share, the easy way to go solar—no rooftop required. At a cost of $3.50 per panel each month, customers can license locally generated solar energy and receive credits on their energy bill. Find out more at epb.com/solarshare.

About EPB

EPB serves the people of the Chattanooga area with advanced smart city infrastructure to enable world-class energy and connectivity solutions that include the most resilient smart grid power distribution system in the United States and the fastest internet in the world. EPB gained national notice when it deployed a community-wide fiber optic network accessible to all its customers and used it to launch America’s first Gig-speed internet in 2010 (beating Google Fiber by 4 years) as well as the first 10 Gig internet service available as a standard offer to all residences and businesses in 2015.

EPB also utilized the fiber optic network as the communications backbone for deploying more than 200,000 smart switches, sensors and other devices to establish the most advanced and highly automated smart grid in the nation. As a result, the U.S. Department of Energy named EPB a living laboratory for pioneering smart grid technologies. Since then, EPB has partnered with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and more than 20 other national research partners to play a critical role in more than $155 million in smart city research. EPB was also the first major power distribution utility to earn the GBCI’s PEER certification for having a highly automated, modernized electric power grid in 2015 and followed up in 2021 by re-certifying at PEER Gold.

EPB is an independent board of the City of Chattanooga which began serving customers in 1939. Visit epb.com for more information.

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