Lenoir City Utilities Board customers may stop shying away from
opening the mail when they see a slight decrease in next month's electric bill.
announced and approved Monday afternoon over $1 million in cuts in customers' rates over the next
The new rates are effective immediately.
"It is a small amount, but it is
something we believe in. It's something that we believe we're going in the right direction. It's
certainly better than going up on somebody," Lenoir City Mayor Tony Aikens said.
attributes the rate decrease to "conservative management" and paying off over $15 million in debt,
saving the utility company $3.7 million over 10 years.
"Anytime you can have a reduction in
power rates in the economy that we're in is a significant challenge," Aikens said after the
special-called meeting and taxpayer check presentation at Lenoir City Hall. "It's certainly the
management of Lenoir City Utilities has worked on this several months and anytime that we can reduce
the rate, pay off over $15 million in debt and pass those savings onto the customers we're going to
The new rate should remain stable for the next five years, despite Tennessee Valley
Authority threatening to raise rates in the near future.
"Obviously we have no control over
what TVA does. ... Anytime TVA has an increase it impacts every utility, not just Lenoir City but
every utility," Aikens said.
LCUB purchases power from TVA, according to Shannon Littleton,
"It's something that's out of our control, but tonight we're speaking
directly about something we have control of," Littleton said. "The dollars may not be that
significant initially, but rates are declining."
Littleton said rates could drop again next
year for LCUB's 60,000-plus customers.
"Maybe by next budget season we'll visit this issue
again and we'll be able to do some more for the ratepayers," Littleton said.
can't read the future, but we want to be able to pass those savings onto the customers," Aikens
added. "I know ratepayers will appreciate it. It may be a small margin but anytime we can reduce
them that's saying something."
Several council members echoed the mayor's
Councilman Eddie Simpson said the reduction comes after water and sewer costs rose a
couple of years ago.
"At that time we talked about it and anytime that this came possible
that we could lower electric to try to balance, help the balance on that, and that's what we would
do. I'm glad to see this day here," Simpson said.
"I think it's great. I'm sure the customers
will be very happy to hear their rates will be lowered. This is what we're here for, this is what we
need to do: provide the best service that we can at the cheapest price we can," Councilman Jim
"I think it sends a signal other than just the monetary part that we are trying
to look out for our customers, and I've heard it 10,000 times people say, 'They always go up, but
they never come down.' So, this is the day we can remind them," Councilman Mike Henline