HUB frequently receives comments and questions from our customers. Here are a few examples that you should review before contacting us; it is possible your question has already been addressed:
HUB does not generate electricity; we purchase power wholesale from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). TVA was formed in 1933 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” to help the nation escape economic impacts of the “Great Depression”. TVA is a not-for-profit, federal entity responsible for providing safe, reliable, and affordable power. TVA generates electricity through a variety of hydro-electric dams, fossil-fueled plants, and nuclear plants.
Actually, HUB services a much larger area than just the City of Harriman. Our system covers territory in Roane and Morgan Counties, as far away as the Rockwood Airport and Oliver Springs. During a significant outage event, HUB prioritizes restoration work according to the density of reported outages first, then by order of notification for isolated reports. Of the 600 plus miles of electric line we support, only a small portion is inside the city limits of Harriman.
Regarding taxes; HUB receives no tax money from the City of Harriman. HUB actually makes in-lieu-of-tax payments each year to the City of Harriman, which then distributes portions of this money to the City of Oakdale as well as Roane and Morgan Counties.
The rate increase to HUB customers beginning October 1, 2018 reflected a number of changes by TVA and rising expenses experienced by HUB. As part of a six-year plan to reduce debt which began on October 1, 2013, TVA elected to implement small, incremental increases to their wholesale rates each year. As a result, in 2018 we are facing another 1.5% increase. Also beginning October 1, 2018, TVA will apply a grid access charge to all utilities that purchase power from the agency. As more energy-efficient customers purchase less power from utilities due to the use of rooftop solar panels, energy efficient windows and better insulated buildings, for example, TVA insists it must absorb costs to maintain its massive power grid as customers use less energy in the incoming years. Furthermore, shifting to more of a fixed-cost rate structure allows them to normalize revenue which is greatly affected by abnormal weather patterns, such as unusually warm winters or mild summers. Like TVA, HUB is also a non-profit organization. Our revenue must be sufficient to cover our ongoing expenses and any capital investment we make back into our system to upgrade, repair, or replace infrastructure. Our Board the past several years purposefully limited “local rate adjustments”. They did this to lessen the overall impact of a local increase on top of the TVA increase. In fact, of the six (6) years in a row (2013-2018) that TVA increased their rates, HUB only made three (3) local rate adjustments (2013, 2015, and 2018).
HUB’s old headquarters was in service for over seventy years. Due to its age, and the expansion of our services to the community, HUB needed to either construct a new building, renovate the existing one, or acquire a suitable existing building to relocate to. Purchasing the former Regions Bank™ building allowed us to accomplish this much more economically and efficiently than new construction or massive renovation. This project was anticipated for a long time.
HUB uses strict hiring protocols that forbid favoritism or nepotism in selecting employees. Due to the nature of many positions, selection criteria are competitive, and applicants are not always accepted. As a smaller Local Power Company (LPC), HUB often has no vacancies to accommodate all desiring to be employed. Whenever a position does become available, notices are posted prominently, and all qualified applications considered. While it is our preference to hire local employees whenever possible, ultimately, the best qualified applicants will be selected.
No. First, let’s discuss how much of HUB’s annual budget goes to payroll; only fourteen (14) percent. Given that this comes out of the $.25 of every dollar collected, only $.03 ½ cents of every dollar goes to employee wages and salary. Even if our payroll was cut in half (which would be unsustainable), the impact on customers’ bills would be miniscule. For example, if your monthly bill was $100, this would only reduce it by $1.75.
TVA actually conducts an annual survey of LPC payroll to determine an average. We set our salaries and wages based on neither matching the highest or lowest of those surveyed. In this way, we can continue to attract quality employees, without losing exiting employees to utilities that do pay higher than average payroll.
Unlike your car payment, rent, or mortgage, your utility bill (normally) varies according to use. If one customer has more efficient appliances, is more disciplined in their usage, or has less square footage, it is very likely their bill will be lower. You can refer to our energy saving tips page for more information on how to lower your monthly bill.
HUB has zero incentive to charge more than customers can afford. In addition to being a highly-regulated not-for-profit utility provider, HUB is also part of the community; we want to extend every reasonable opportunity to our customers. We offer several methods of managing difficulties in paying your monthly utility bill. Our Budget Billing Program allows you to pay based on your annual average usage, rather than paying higher than usual bills in the summer and winter months. For customers who are already “late” on a monthly bill, and who meet other qualifications, we can work with you via Payment Arrangements. However, these are only permitted twice a year, and should be avoided if there is any way to pay your balance in full; making a Payment Arrangement can result in you owing both the delinquent amount, and the next month’s bill at very near the same time. HUB also offers the “Warming the Hearts” program, in which funds donated by customers, and administered by a third party, the Mid-East Community Action Agency (MECAA), can be made available to qualified HUB customers who apply. Residents of Morgan County can also seek federal assistance through the East Tennessee Human Resources Agency (ETHRA).
As a public entity, any time HUB requires contract services of a certain value, an open bid process will be used in accordance with our governing regulations. Such postings will be made available on this website on our Opportunities for Bid page, and/or posted in local or regional newspapers as well as plan rooms which many contracts are members of.
HUB is committed to environmentally responsible actions. However, providing charging stations for electric vehicles is not part of our operating profile. That being said, we would provide the power to any such stations operating in our areas of responsibility. Fixed-base charging stations for electric vehicles actually create an enormous draw on our electric system relative to the very limited use of such vehicles in our area. This would translate to much higher costs for commercial owners of these stations, and is a very likely reason they are not installed.
HUB cannot prevent a resident from electing to install renewable sources. So long as the installation is done in accordance with municipal or county codes, and infringes on no other local, State, or Federal laws, we presume anyone can do so. However, installing this equipment can post potential risks to HUB workers if done incorrectly. For this reason, we require customers to notify us if they intend to install solar panels or generators. As always, customers should obtain the correct permits and utilize licensed, professional contractors to complete this work.
Actually, we’re upstream of TVA Kingston and ORNL. HUB’s water is sourced from the Emory River above the main railway bridge. The effluent from TVA Kingston enters Watts Bar Lake some miles downstream of our Water Treatment Plant, and the current runs away from both locations. That being said, HUB conducts rigorous testing overseen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure that our drinking water meets Federal standards for more than fifty (50) pollutants, hazardous substances, and biological threats. You can study the entire HUB Water Quality Report for more information.