Nearly $900,000 in electric system deposits to be returned in February


JOHNSON CITY – About 4,113 BrightRidge Electric residential customers will receive a refund of their deposit in February thanks to their strong payment history, recouping nearly $900,000 collectively that would have otherwise been held until an account was closed.

Prior to the policy change approved by the BrightRidge Board of Directors this week, about 22.4 percent of residential accounts were required to place a deposit due to credit rating, credit history or other payment issues.

Under the new policy, if a residential customer has held the same address for 36 months and is good standing for the prior 12 months, the deposit will automatically be refunded as a bill credit. Relocating may reinstate the deposit requirement for up to 36 months.

“From the outset of the pandemic and through the difficult economic times today, BrightRidge has led the way in providing relief to our customers, holding rates flat, issuing recovery credits, assisting with low-income home efficiency improvements and directly funding regional development efforts,” CEO Jeff Dykes said. “As we approach the holidays, we are pleased to again help wherever possible. Our staff brought this forward for consideration, finding it will have negligible corporate impact, but greatly assist many customers.”

The deposit bill credit should be available on customer accounts in mid-February.

BrightRidge’s Board of Directors also will consider a third pandemic recovery credit later this year as revenues permit. Two prior credits issued in 2021 and 2022 were timed to lower February bills for residential and small commercial businesses.

BrightRidge Electric has held local rates flat for four years running, with no local increase. Nonetheless, TVA Fuel Charge Adjustment fees, which are required to be passed through to local power company customers by TVA, have raised bills throughout the year. The FCA helps TVA manage widely variable fuel costs for generating or purchasing electricity on the market.

 “High inflation makes this a very tough environment, whether customer or company, and we are pleased to again demonstrate we are managing costs as closely as possible to lower customer bills in meaningful ways,” Dykes said.

About BrightRidge

BrightRidge is a publicly owned electric utility serving 83,671 customers in Washington, Sullivan, Carter and Greene counties. It is the 10th largest local power company in the Tennessee Valley Authority service area. BrightRidge Broadband, a division of BrightRidge, offers nation-leading 10GB symmetrical fiber-to-the-premise services to more than 30,000 locations in its service area.