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VEC Increasing Customer Charges Beginning April 1

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
VEC Increasing Customer Charges Beginning April 1

Volunteer Energy Cooperative will raise its rates for the first time since 2005 as the company works to combat the rising prices of maintenance and materials.

VEC Crossville and Monterey Service Area Manager Kevin Hembree said the residential customer flat rate charge will increase by $5.25, taking the price from $11.77 to $17. That rate is not impacted by energy usage. Hembree said since the last price increase, inflation is up 57 percent.

“We always have our members’ best interests in mind,” Hembree said. “We hate to raise it, but we also have to be able to maintain the system. You know, that customer charge, that’s what it goes to, which, us being a cooperative, we’re nonprofit.”

Hembree said equipment like transformers, meters, wire, and poles have all become substantially more expensive. He said prior to the increase, VEC had the lowest prices in the state and will move to third-lowest with the markup. The increase will be effective April 1.

“It requires a lot of planning,” Hembree said. “Of course, as most areas know, Tennessee is really growing. A lot of people are moving in here, so we’re constantly monitoring the system, doing upgrades to reach new capacities that we have.”

Hembree said that growth is a major contributor to the need for increased prices. He said more customers means more transformers, poles, and lines. He said existing materials have to grow with the population as well. Wire sizes have to be increased and new substations have to be built to keep up with surging demand.

“We’ve been trying to maintain the current price, but it’s just gone up so much, we’ve had to raise to offset that,” Hembree said.

Small commercial accounts will jump to $19, medium commercial to $50, and large commercial will sit at $250 come April.


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