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Study: Federal utility shifts costs to residential customers

A study says the nation’s largest public utility has given large businesses breaks on electric rates over six years while residential customers’ rates increased.

The Synapse Energy Economics Inc. study says the Tennessee Valley Authority’s industrial and direct-serve customers have received almost a 20 percent rate cut from 2011 to 2016, while residential customer rates increased 5 percent.

The report released this week says if the increases were applied equally, residential customers would’ve saved $1.4 billion.

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy Executive Director Stephen Smith said that’s a complete distortion of TVA’s mission.

Utility spokesman Scott Brooks said TVA also has an economic development mission. He said large manufacturing and commercial customers have used a 2015 change incentivizing off-peak power usage.

Brooks said TVA’s residential rates are lower than 70 percent of competitors.

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