BY JOHN M. JONES JR.
Greeneville/Greene County electric power customers will see a slight decrease in the charge per kilowatt hour that they pay for their electricity in August, compared with this month.
The decrease, which goes into effect Aug. 1, is the direct result of a slight decrease in the Tennessee Valley Authority's wholesale rate: the charge per kilowatt hour that the regional utility charges its local power distributors, such as the Greeneville Light and Power System.
For the average residential user here and throughout the Tennessee River Valley region, the decrease should, on average, lower the cost of electricity by about two percent for August, compared with the current cost, according to Bill Carroll, general manager of the GL&PS.
Commercial and industrial electricity-users will also be affected by the rate adjustment, he said.
Carroll explained this morning in an interview that TVA makes monthly adjustments in what is called its "Fuel Cost Adjustor," based on what TVA's fuel costs have been in the previous month.
If the costs go up in a particular month, the wholesale rate goes up the next month. If the costs go down in a particular month, the wholesale rate goes down the next month.
TVA generates electricity for its customers throughout the Tennessee River Valley region in a variety of ways, including burning coal, burning natural gas, using nuclear power, using water power, and, if necessary, buying power from other utilities.
Carroll said that the fact that the cost of natural gas has gone down is the main reason that TVA is able to make the downward rate adjustment for August.
The GL&PS passes through to its customers any rate decrease or increase in TVA's wholesale rate, Carroll noted.
He pointed out that, although the adjustment for August is not very large, it will be "a step in the right direction."
He also called attention to the fact that the rate that GL&PS customers pay in August 2012 will be more than 10 percent lower than the rate they paid in August 2011.
"Year to year," he said, "it is a pretty significant difference."