How one Va. city squeezed through the cracks
Tennessee Valley Authority Chair Craven Crowell told the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association annual meeting in May: "We need to make sure our customers get the best prices and best service available in the electric power industry." But one customer's attempt to get lower prices has been 10 years in the making (em and TVA won't be selling to them for much longer.
Earlier this year, the Bristol, Va., Utility Board voted to end a tradition of 45 years of wholesale power purchases. Bristol is the first of the TVA's 160 wholesale customers ever to leave the system, although others (em including its sister city, Bristol, Tenn. (em have tried.
To save money, the city council and utility board evaluated 19 responses to a request for bids, and in February unanimously approved an all-requirements contract with Cinergy Corp. of Cincinnati. The contract will begin in January. The city's contract with TVA expires Dec. 31.
The municipality expects to save $70 million over the life of the new seven-year contract with Cinergy. That translates into projected rate reductions of 14 percent for residential customers. Savings for commercial and industrial customers will depend on usage volumes. Bristol's largest industrial customers, which already receive "economy surplus power," will see a slight rate reduction, and will benefit by having firm transmission of their total power requirements.