MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – The cost of electricity is going up for some people in Middle Tennessee. Middle Tennessee Electric said their members can expect their power bills to be higher than normal this summer because of a rise in natural gas prices.

“Increased natural gas prices is the biggest culprit,” said MTE CEO Chris Jones. “TVA generates about 25 percent of its electricity by burning natural gas. Prices for natural gas are way up all over the world.”

According to the utility, the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) Fuel Cost Adjustment charge remains up primarily because of those higher natural gas prices.

“We wish that it were otherwise, but MTE has no control over the FCA. It is a direct pass-through, meaning that every penny we collect for this goes straight to TVA,” Jones said.

TVA uses the FCA to manage the fluctuations in the costs of fuels that it uses to generate electricity. The FCA has been steady for several years, but with the global supply chain and inflation issues, the FCA has been higher over the last several months. TVA is the nation’s largest public power producer and sells power to 154 local utilities including MTE.

“The wholesale rate itself is set by the TVA board every year, and the TVA board has not raised that wholesale rate in the last several years and intends to essentially keep that rate flat over the next decade,” said TVA spokesman Scott Brooks. “What does change every month is the wholesale fuel cost, which is essentially reflecting the cost that we pay for the fuel that it takes to operate the power plants. That would be nuclear, that would be natural gas, that would be coal. And then some purchase power — when it’s cheaper to purchase power from other utilities than it is to make it ourselves we’ll buy it on the market. And all of that goes into the monthly fuel cost, which does go up and down based on our actual cost.”

According to Jones, it’s an issue many power companies are seeing as well.

“All electric companies are seeing these same issues from their suppliers,” he said, adding, however, that MTE’s residential rates still rank among the lowest in the nation. “Despite facing inflationary pressures, I’m proud to report our electric rates are even more competitive when compared to others, and we intend to keep it that way.”

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All that being said, the biggest impact on your power bill will be how much electricity a home uses.

“When people use more electricity, that means we’re having to use more fuel to produce more of that electricity,” said Brooks. “So when their usage goes up, our costs are reflected in that. So we do tend to see a bump in the fuel cost during the summer and the winter months, pretty much every year, because that’s when usage goes up as people use electricity to heat and cool their homes.”

MTE is encouraging people to follow these energy-saving tips:

  1. 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.
  2. Keep blinds, shades, and curtains closed during the hottest parts of the day to prevent sunlight from heating your home.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Turn off any unnecessary lights. Much of the energy consumed by light bulbs is emitted as heat, driving already warm temperatures even higher.
  6. Wear thin, loose-fitting clothing around the house to stay comfortable without keeping the room temperature low.
  7. Run ceiling fans counterclockwise, forcing air to move straight down. Even mild air movement can make a room feel three to four degrees cooler.