Members of Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation should expect higher energy bills this summer as a result of extreme summer temperatures, coupled with an increase in the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Fuel Cost Adjustment.
Tennessee is experiencing unseasonably hot weather, which began in May and is continuing into June. Hot weather has a big impact on energy usage. Warmer outdoor temperatures require home cooling systems to operate longer to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures, even if thermostat settings are unchanged.
Also contributing to higher summer bills is an increase in TVA’s Fuel Cost Adjustment (FCA). The TVA Fuel Cost, which appears as a separate line item on members’ bills, is up due to higher natural gas prices. TVA uses a Fuel Cost Adjustment to manage changes in the cost of raw materials used for power generation. These fuels include the uranium, coal, oil and natural gas that TVA must purchase to run its power generation plants. TVA generates 25 percent of our power with natural gas, and the price of natural gas is up globally.
CEMC has no control over the FCA and does not retain any portion of this rate. One hundred percent of the FCA goes to TVA.
Despite these changes, CEMC’s residential rates rank among the lowest in the nation and still fall below the national average. Minus the fuel cost adjustment, CEMC has not imposed a rate increase since the fall of 2017.
The most effective way members can combat increased energy costs is by reducing their energy consumption. Members’ bills are the result of the cost of energy and the amount of energy used. By controlling usage, members control their bills and their costs.
CEMC encourages its members to monitor their electric use through SmartHub, either online or via the mobile app. Other energy-saving tips include:
Set your thermostat at the highest comfortable temperature. The smaller the temperature difference between your home and outdoors, the lower your cooling costs will be.
Make sure your heat pump, central air conditioning unit or window air conditioner is clean and in good working order. Inspect, clean or replace all filters as needed.
Keep blinds, shades and curtains closed during the hottest parts of the day to prevent sunlight from heating your home.
Stoves and ovens can raise a kitchen’s temperature by as much as 10 degrees. Use an outdoor grill or microwave as much as possible to keep the temperature down.
Limit chores that produce heat and moisture, like cooking, cleaning, ironing, and laundry, to the cooler early morning and evening hours as much as possible. Wash as much clothing as you can in cold water.
Turn off any unnecessary lights. Much of the energy consumed by light bulbs is emitted as heat, driving already warm temperatures even higher.
Install efficient LED lighting, which uses less energy than other types.
Turn off televisions, computers and gaming consoles when they are not in use.
Don’t leave small appliances and chargers plugged in when not in use.
Wear thin, loose-fitting clothing around the house to stay comfortable without keeping the room temperature low.
Run ceiling fans counterclockwise, forcing air to move straight down. Even mild air movement can make a room feel three to four degrees cooler.
Members may also consider enrolling in CEMC’s levelized billing program to avoid seasonal peaks in their energy bills.
Help is available for members who are having difficulties paying their bills through local energy assistance agencies.
For more tips on how to control energy costs, visit cemc.org, or contact 800-987-2362 to speak to your trusted energy advisor.