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BrightRidge Board approves balanced FY 2024 budgets; budgets $1.3 million for customer credits
JOHNSON CITY -- BrightRidge unanimously adopted a balanced Fiscal Year 2024 budget this week without an increase in local electric or broadband rates. With the budget balanced, the BrightRidge Board of Directors voted to return $1.3 million to residential and small commercial customers through July bill credits.
“With stable cash flows projected for the next five years, BrightRidge continues to prioritize the needs of our customers while investing in service access,” BrightRidge CEO Jeff Dykes told the BrightRidge Board of Directors on Tuesday. “Although electric sales continue a decade-long flat trendline, overall margin growth is projected to cover capital, administrative and maintenance costs without a local rate increase.”
In the Electric Division, BrightRidge has consistently demonstrated its commitment to affordable electric power by forgoing any local rate increase during the past five years.
Instead, BrightRidge’s strong financial position allowed the BrightRidge Board of Directors to approve $1.3 million in July bill credits for residential and small commercial electric customers.
This is an estimated 11% savings on an average customer bill. Funding comes from the Tennessee Valley Authority's Pandemic Recovery Credit paid to local power companies like BrightRidge to offset inflation costs, supply chain delays and lower demand.
Including the final $1.3 million distribution, BrightRidge has credited $5.1 million to residential and small commercial customers since 2021.
Weather is the largest driver of sales in the BrightRidge electric service area. Peaky weather conditions cause poor load factors, with load factor measuring the ratio between sales volume and peak demand, according to BrightRidge Chief Financial Officer Brian Bolling. TVA bills local power companies for peak demand as well as wholesale usage.
“Peaky weather conditions, where temperatures spike or plummet, but then recover towards average temperatures in a short period of time, stress the electric system and the budget,” Bolling said. “Our Board of Directors understand we are at the mercy of weather when it comes to projecting a budget.”
Wholesale power costs paid to the Tennessee Valley Authority account for 75.6 percent of the Electric Division's total budget. Operating expenses are projected to rise by $230,500 or 1.37 percent, reflecting the company's commitment to efficient service delivery.
BrightRidge also remains the largest taxpayer for both the City of Johnson City and Washington County, supporting local governments and taxpayers through $6.33 million in budgeted tax payments.
Meanwhile, BrightRidge Broadband continues to invest in expanding its customer network and improving connectivity throughout the region. The budget authorizes $23.5 million in capital projects to accelerate fiber Broadband deployment by 24 months.
By the end of FY 2024, BrightRidge Broadband fiber anticipates passing 53,423 electric system locations, 50 percent more than initial business plan projections.
"Our budgets reflect dedication to customer satisfaction, technological advancement, and community growth,” Dykes said. “We remain committed to providing dependable, affordable, cutting-edge services to our customers."
BrightRidge is a leading provider of electric and broadband services in the region, serving 82,610 customers in Sullivan, Washington, Greene and Carter counties. With a fundamental focus on affordability, customer satisfaction, innovation, and community development, BrightRidge is committed to delivering reliable high-speed services to customers.