Alcoa Electric’s new “green energy” customers eventually will see an increase in their upfront costs, as TVA requires all local power companies to execute an amendment to its Green Power Providers program.

“This is not a huge deal at this point,” Alcoa Public Services Director Kenny Wiggins told the Alcoa Board of Commissioners on Tuesday. “We have to have this back to TVA by April 20, but any changes to our agreement with our customers or establishing fees will come back to you at a work session.”

TVA’s Green Power Providers program applies to utility customers who elect to install “green power” such as solar panels on their homes or businesses that also are supplied electricity by local power companies.

The changes will affect Alcoa Electric’s solar customers, Wiggins explained, because TVA no longer will reimburse local power companies for inspections, meters or communications fees.

“So that (the costs for inspections, meters, etc.) will have to be folded into the customer’s charge,” he said of city-incurred costs of solar installations.

An invoice for a recent solar installation included in commissioners’ meeting packets Tuesday shows that TVA reimbursed Alcoa $127.85 for the meter and $200 for inspection of the system.

In the future, that $327.85 would have to be paid by the customer, Wiggins noted.

“Because all of the costs associated with the system will fall back on us, we will need to revise all our (customer) agreements,” he said.

Wiggins added that “right now we lose money” on the city’s 25 solar customers due to upfront and recurring expenses.

Another change for solar customers will be the fixed rate for the electricity their homes or businesses use.

Residential and GSA-1 Customers, whose system sizes range from 500 watts to 10 kilowatts, will receive a 20-year fixed rate of 9 cents per kilowatt hour, while GSA-2/GSA-3 customers, whose system sizes range from 500 watts to 50 kilowatts, will receive a 20-year fixed rate of 7.5 cents per kilowatt hour.

“So they will pay more money on the front end, but save money in the long run?” asked Commissioner Jim Buchanan.

Wiggins said that is the goal.

Alcoa commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to authorize the mayor to execute an amendment to TVA’s Green Power Providers Program.

These changes will only impact new Green Power Program customers and the renewal of current agreements as they expire, Wiggins clarified for The Daily Times on Wednesday.

Other action

Also on Tuesday, Alcoa commissioners:

• Awarded bids for hourly ”time and materials” tree trimming for the remainder of fiscal 2018 and all of fiscal 2019 to Townsend Tree Service and Wolf Tree Inc., which will be used along with ABC Tree Trimming, which was awarded a contract in January.

• Authorized the mayor to execute a Certificate of Compliance for a Retail Food Store Wine License for Food City No. 626, 121 N. Hall Road.

• Annexed into the city the Dusty and Alyson Young property at 605 Alcoa Trail and approved on second (final) reading ordinances creating a plan of services for the property and zoning it Limited Restriction District “I,” which is a residential zone.

• Approved on second reading rezoning property located at the northwest corner of Pellissippi Parkway and Old Knoxville Highway and at the northwest and southwest corners of Cemetery Drive and Old Knoxville Highway from General Business District “E” and Limited Restriction District “I” to Interstate Commercial District “IC.”

• Approved on first reading an ordinance abandoning and closing a portion of public right of way known as Louisville Road for future development at Hamilton Crossing, though City Planner Jeremy Pearson said Alcoa has not received detailed site plans for the property yet.

Lesli Bales-Sherrod has written for multiple East Tennessee newspapers, as well as working in communications for the federal government in Washington, D.C., twice, in addition to her favorite job as mom of two. She covers Alcoa, Maryville and Townsend.

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