Tuesday, April 20, 2021
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Volunteer Energy Exploring Other Electric Providers

Volunteer Energy Cooperative is considering buying power from a new provider after increasing whole sale rates from TVA.

Volunteer Energy Cooperative President Rody Blevin said prices have continually increased over seven years at about a two percent rate.

“We spent about a year talking to TVA about a possible new contract,” Blevin said. “TVA refused to negotiate with us on anything with a contract. So, we went out for request for proposals for alternate power supply. We did that last April or May 2020. Those proposals came back with significant lower rates.”

Blevin said the problem now is that TVA controls the transmission system. Blevin said TVA has declined to give the company access if a provider change is made. This has resulted in Volunteer Energy and three other electric companies to submit a complaint to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

“We filed that complaint in early January,” Blevin said. “TVA filed their response this past Monday once again asserting that they do not want to give us transmission access and that FERC doesn’t have the authority to require them to give us transmission access.”

Volunteer Energy provides power to 17 counties. Blevin said a change in provider could save customers up to $30, but a five year notice to TVA would be required based on the current contract.

“The whole United State outside of the TVA area has open access transmission, and that is all that we are asking for,” Blevin said. “Is that we have the same access to the high voltage transmission that the rest of the country does. TVA is the only region in the country that doesn’t have open access.”

Blevin said he is very concerned that TVA does not have outside regulation. If transmission use is denied, Blevin said Volunteer Energy will consider building its own system.

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