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Power Board changing rate structure

More than 75,000 meters are being replaced by the Johnson City Power Board in preparation for a new rate structure mandated by the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Time of Use Rates is a system wherein electricity rates will vary according to its relative cost during a given time of day, rather than by the average of a customer’s total use.
“We hope to educate the public on how to shift their usage by knowing when they are being charged the most,” said William Coleman Jr., member of the JCPB Board of Directors.
According to TVA, the primary goal of the new “smart grid” equipment is to deliver the optimal amount of information and control for customers and distributors to change behavior in a way that reduces system demand and costs, and increases energy efficiency.
Smart meters will display minute-by-minute power usage and what it is costing, which will enable customers to alter their usage and immediately see a price difference.
The advanced meter infrastructure utilizes technology to create a wireless communication network between a utility and its meters, which allows for real-time data collection, asset monitoring and asset control.
“We’ve already had a meter tell on someone who was cheating,” Coleman said.
This particular individual had exchanged his meter with the one installed for an unoccupied structure next door. According to Coleman, the meter notified the JCPB by reporting it was in the wrong place.
While commercial and residential users will have different rates, both will see a cost increase for electricity use during peak hours.
“State law says we can’t give any of our users a break,” Coleman said. “That only spreads the cost to everyone else.”
The system changes now enable the JCPB to initiate or stop service from its location on Boones Creek Road rather than having to send a technician to a site.
In addition, smart grid provides automated meter reading.
The JCPB is ahead of schedule in replacing meters, and the new rate structure is scheduled to become effective between April and October 2012. Coleman said customers will be encouraged to take advantage of the changes, despite the irony of these efforts.
“We’re a business that has only one commodity to sell, and we educate the public on how to use less of it,” he said. “How many other models are set up like that?”
The JCPB is a community-owned, nonprofit electric utility governed by a board of directors consisting of representatives from Washington County, the Town of Jonesborough and the City of Johnson City. It provides electricity and related programs, services and products to all of Washington County, as well as parts of Carter, Greene and Sullivan counties.