November 9, 2020 9:53:11 AM
When Grey Land heard the news that 4-County Electric Power Association would be reducing its rates for the next 12 months, he didn't immediately start making his retirement plans.
He kept on bush-hogging.
"This will be the last time for the year," said Land, 63, a cattle rancher and businessman who has lived in Noxubee County all his life. "You look at it and see it's about $2.10, $2.20 a month. That's not a lot, but for someone like me with several properties, it adds up. I'll take it, that's for sure."
4-County announced the rate cut, which will average $2.17 for residential customers after receiving its allotment of a $200 million credit from the Tennessee Valley Authority, which provides the co-op and its 40,000 members in east Mississippi with electricity.
TVA officials say the credit is intended to help communities and businesses recover more quickly from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and reflects the improved efficiencies and fiscal performance of TVA, the company said in its press release announcing the rate cut.
4-County officials noted it absorbed a rate increase by TVA in 2016 without passing the rate increase on to its members. In total, member savings for that year alone were in excess of $1.4 million system wide and $5.66 million over a four-year period.
Brandon Presley, Northern District commissioner for the state's Public Service Commission, lauded 4-County's rate reduction.
"Any reduction in costs to Mississippians is welcome in the midst of the economic crisis we find ourselves in," Presley said. "My hat's off to the manager and board for passing these savings back to the people who own 4-County."
The rate deduction will begin in November and last 12 months. Commercial business savings will be based on usage and other variables, 4-County officials said in the announcement.
For Land, the rate reduction is less about the money saved than it is about 4-County's attitude toward its owner-members.
"I do think they look out for their customers," Land said. "With this COVID thing going on, people are struggling. Every dollar counts. I like that they're giving back when they have a chance. It would have been just as easy for them to put it in their pocket or spend it on something else. It's a good sign that they did this."
Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]
2. Anonymous anti-Spruill billboard invokes Bernie Sanders meme STARKVILLE & OKTIBBEHA COUNTY