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July 4, 2013

Rain aids drop in fuel portion of TVA rates

The wettest year in nearly two decades is having a beneficial effect on the Tennessee Valley Authority.

TVA is pumping out a record amount of electricity this year from its cheapest source — hydroelectric dams on the Tennessee River and its tributaries.

As a result, TVA’s fuel portion of its electric rates will be 10 percent less this year during July, traditionally the hottest and most expensive months for electricity consumers.

TVA spokesman Scott Brooks said the rain has created a “highly unusual” situation for July because historically fuel costs go up with rising demand during summer months.

TVA has lowered its monthly fuel cost adjustment for July. The actual bill will still largely be determined by individual usage patterns and the weather. There is no “fuel” costs for TVA hydro generation since Mother Nature supplies the water used to turn the turbines at TVA’s 29 power-generating dams.

“This is highly unusual for the 4th of July,” said Tom Barnett, manager of river forecasting for TVA.

TVA set monthly records for hydro generation in both February and May, and June was the second highest month in TVA history for hydro generation. The federal utility derived about 9 percent of its power from hydroelectric dams last year and that share is running even higher this year with hydro generation already at 138 percent of the normal level.

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