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Thursday, board members with the Tennessee Valley Authority voted to approve a 6% whole sale rate increase at a meeting in the Shoals.
The Marriott of the Shoals in Florence was packed with city leaders and citizens from across the South who use TVA's power.
What this approved grid access charge does is, instead of paying for the electricity you use, it will instead be a flat rate to your wholesaler. Some people who spoke at the meeting against the charge said it's going to hit lower income communities the hardest.
"People are going to have to make life threatening choices to pay these utility bills," said Sandra Upchurch.
Upchurch drove all the way from Memphis to address the Tennessee Valley Authority Board members. She's upset the board approved a grid access charge to their wholesalers and believes the cost will be passed down to customers.
"With this TVA grid access fee and the mandatory fixed charges the utilities will pass this on to the customer," said Upchurch.
Officials with TVA said one of three things could happen to customers bills with this change. A customers bill could stay the same or it could go down, but for those who use very little power, they could see a $1 or $2 increase on their electric bill.
"Ultimatley if you use very little electricity we still have to recover the cost to be able to provide that to you," said Richard Morrissey, Florence's Electric Department Manager.
Morrissey said Florence customers won't see an increase anytime soon.
"What the grid access charge does, it lowers energy rates and by the same dollar amount moves those dollars into a fixed cost recovery, or access charge. It has zero impact on the local power companies or retail customer," said Morrissey.
Tennessee Valley Authority officials said this rate restructuring will begin October 1st, for their wholesalers like Florence Utilities.
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