MTE will halt disconnections, erase all late fees throughout August amid continued heat wave, rising TVA fuel costs
Murfreesboro, Tenn. – Middle Tennessee Electric (MTE) will take unprecedented steps during August to help alleviate the strain on its members from increased consumption and rising fuel costs from TVA, the cooperative’s power provider.
“The weather is beyond everyone’s control, and TVA’s Fuel Cost Adjustment is out of MTE’s control,” said Chris Jones, MTE’s CEO. “Unfortunately, both will impact member bills coming due in August. We recognize it, and we want to do what we can to help, which is why we are suspending disconnections for non-payment and eliminating all late fees from Aug. 1 until after Labor Day.”
Additionally, Jones said MTE will give members the flexibility to spread out payments. Installment plans enable members to pay a portion of their high bill balance and distribute the remaining balance out over up to a six-month period. The member will receive their regular monthly statement with the installment amount added.
“If there is one thing I would most strongly recommend to members this month, it would be to move to Levelized Billing,” Jones said. “We make this option available to most members, so just reach out, and we’ll set you up. If you get a high bill in August, you might be surprised how much lower your bill would be on Levelized Billing, and we can do that for you right away.”
Levelized Billing gives members the option to pay nearly the same amount on their bill each month, which removes extreme fluctuations caused by unpredictable weather or energy use. Similarly, Fixed Budget Billing takes those unexpected costs out of the equation and lets members pay a set amount each month, regardless of energy consumption. The cooperative also lets members select a bill due date that works best with their budget. Learn more about these options and others at mte.com/billing.
“MTE is here to answer any questions about your bill, how to save energy or making your home energy efficient,” Jones said. “Never hesitate to pick up the phone and call us or send us a message. As a not-for-profit cooperative, we’re here to be your energy experts and advisors. Our purpose is to make life better for our members.”
An important part of MTE's SharingChange foundation is to help members who need financial assistance. Funding for energy assistance is provided for accounts year-round through several local help agencies. These local agencies handle the application process and administer the funds on behalf of MTE. MTE encourages members to utilize these agencies' services during this high bill season. Those interested in learning more about these agencies should visit mte.com/CommunityEnergyAssistanceAgencies.
Members are encouraged to visit mte.com/EnergyTips for energy-saving tips and utilize the free myMTEMC app to monitor hourly and daily energy usage.
More about TVA and the FCA
TVA generates the electricity used by nearly 10 million consumers across the seven-state Tennessee Valley. TVA sells its power to 153 local power companies (like MTE) that in turn distribute the power to the homes and businesses of the Valley.
As the fuel costs vary from month to month, TVA uses the FCA to pass along increases and decreases in fuel costs to customers. The FCA calculation works by capturing the difference between the amount that TVA forecasts to pay for fuel during a given month and the amount collected through rates.
TVA began using the FCA in October 2006 after a spike in fuel costs caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita the previous year. The FCA ensures TVA recovers costs as they occur, helping TVA better match its revenues to expenses as a not-for-profit energy producer.
Like every other power company in the Tennessee Valley, MTE has no control over the fuel cost adjustment, and it is a penny-for-penny pass through – every penny collected for the FCA goes directly to TVA.
About Middle Tennessee Electric (MTE)
Founded in 1936, MTE is the largest electric cooperative in the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) region and the second largest in the United States, serving more than 750,000 Tennesseans via 320,000+ accounts covering nearly 2,200 square miles in 11 Middle Tennessee counties, primarily Rutherford, Cannon, Williamson and Wilson. Municipalities served include Murfreesboro, Franklin, Brentwood, Smyrna, La Vergne, Lebanon and Mt. Juliet. MTE employs 520 people in seven local offices and its Murfreesboro corporate headquarters.
MTE’s subsidiary, United Communications, is a nationally recognized broadband company with a fiber network spanning more than 1,200 route miles providing high-speed internet and other services to portions of Williamson, Rutherford, Marshall, Bedford, Franklin and Davidson counties.