EES to participate in Green Power

By Julie Fann
Star Staff
jfann@starhql.com

   The Elizabethton Electric System agreed Tuesday to participate in the Green Power Switch program for one year. The program is a brainchild of the TVA to generate cleaner, renewable energy across its seven-state region. EES customers are not required to participate in the program but, instead, can subscribe and pay a monthly contribution of $4 or more to support it.
   "It is important to us that EES customers understand that their participation in this program is entirely voluntary and that this does not mean their electric bill is going to increase," said Brent Dugger, Marketing Director for Green Power Switch. Dugger explained that, if a customer decides to subscribe and add an additional $4 or more to their monthly electric bill, that money will go directly to the TVA to help harness alternative sources of reusable energy such as wind and solar power that are better for the environment.
   Subscribers to Green Power pay an extra $4 for each block of 150 kilowatt hours they agree to buy. A 150-kilowatt block represents about 12 percent of an average household's monthly use. Since it is more costly to generate energy from renewable sources than from conventional sources, such as coal and nuclear power, subscribers must pay more to build access to those sources.
   When asked how EES customers who subscribe can be assured that their money will be used only to support development of Green Power, Dugger stated that a California-based auditor will perform routine TVA audit checks to guarantee that subscriber money won't be misappropriated. He also emphasized that a subscriber's $4 monthly contribution guarantees helping the TVA build access to renewable sources of energy and that it does not mean that subscribers will be using that alternative energy in their own homes.
   Vice Chairman Howard Matherly initiated the motion to approve participation in Green Power Switch. By entering into a contract with TVA, either EES or TVA can terminate the agreement one year from its effective date, or anytime thereafter, by giving written notice at least 30 days prior to the date of termination.
   The EES board also addressed at its monthly meeting a year-to-date 5.2 percent debt reduction and an excess in funds of approximately one million dollars. EES Chairman Gary Nave suggested that the excess money be earmarked to further reduce debt. He also said that EES could use extra funds to buy a five-year CD that currently have extremely low interest rates. Investing in this way would be a smart way to reduce debt while simultaneously increasing savings.
   EES General Manager Phil Isaacs said in terms of debt problems, "the worst is behind us." He reminded the board of the need for three new vehicles as well as funds for relocating power lines on Highway 91.
   EES board member Richard Sammons firmly agreed with Nave. The members believe it would be wiser to focus now on debt reduction than on further spending.