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Residents try to save energy, only to be punished for it

Lyn A. Govette • Aug 30, 2013 at 4:29 PM

I found side-by-side articles on page 11A of Wednesday’s edition to be an interesting juxtaposition. One was the Johnson City Power Board informing us it didn’t get enough revenue so our rates are going to rise.It’s just a shame that Tom Kilgore and the other executives of Tennessee Valley Authority can’t live on $4 million a year. It must be so difficult.The other article on the same page was about East Tennessee State University continuing to become more energy efficient, to save tax dollars, to reduce its ecologic footprint and possibly to lessen the tuition burden on students by installing solar panels and LED lighting.So my consternation is this mixed message. Go on TVA or the Power Board’s website and do an energy audit to see how you can save money and lessen your impact on the environment (our electricity comes from burning coal). If you do, it is then troubling to have this same utility service raise the rates when not enough revenue is made. What is truly interesting to me is that in 1976 I moved from the county (where I burned wood for heat) to an apartment in Jonesborough, where I had to rely on electric wall heaters. I was a student then and had a limited income and after I got my bills for that winter, I had a wood stove installed. My usage went down, but my bill went up. I still have the same situation in 2013. I do believe this is a no-win situation for people. In my current home I have all the latest energy-efficient appliances. I have had windows, storm windows and doors replaced with energy-efficient ones. I have a programmable thermostat set for a high of 68 degrees in the winter, supplement with wood heat in an energy-efficient fireplace insert, never use my air conditioner and turn off all lights and computers when they are not in use and still I have to pay more.This is confounding. I would suggest that if the executives of TVA were to require a lesser salary, the lowered revenue from us users would suffice. I truly find it difficult to believe that one needs $4 million a year to live.Just saying.Lyn A. Govette lives in Johnson City.

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