You may have seen the news recently about Occupy Nashville and Phil Williams complaining about NES rates and what top executives spend. First, I took a good look at the Occupy Nashville protestors: about 20 people, 4 sets of overalls, 2 misspelled signs, 1 dog and a skateboard…
All I can say is that their 99% does not represent me.
Now let’s talk about rates. I sampled two utilities that generate their own power and also purchase some, Southern California Edison and Riverside City Electric. SCE is a privately held company and Riverside is a municipality. Here is just a down and dirty review (copied from their web sites) as to how they compare kWh to NES.
Southern California Edison:
Five-Tier Price Structure Sample*
Cents per kWh:
Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3 Tier 4 Tier 5
13¢ 15¢ 23¢ 26¢ 30¢
Here’s an example:
Your central air conditioner may use 15,000 watts (15 kilowatts) of electricity per hour, costing about $1.80 per hour to run in Tier 1. Throughout the month, if you use your A/C often, your electricity usage will rise, and you may move into a higher price tier. Leave your air on all day and night one month, and your usage may spill into Tier 5 and the same air conditioner can cost you about $4.20 per hour to run.
Tier 1 (0-750 kWh, per kWh) $0.1035
Tier 2 (751-1,500 kWh, per kWh) $0.1646
Tier 3 (Over 1,500 kWh, per kWh) $0.1867
Tier 1 (0-350 kWh, per kWh) $0.1035
Tier 2 (351-750 kWh, per kWh) $0.1646
Tier 3 (Over 750 kWh, per kWh) $0.1867
As you can see, each utility has a tier system based on the amount of consumption by a user. The more a customer uses, the higher the tier and hence the higher their monthly utility bill will be.
Summer Period 9.559 ¢ per kWh per month
Winter Period 9.276 ¢ per kWh per month
Transition Period 9.100 ¢ per kWh per month
As you can see, NES is by far the cheapest of the three utilities and they purchase their electricity from TVA. Did Phil mention this in his investigative report – NO! If you were to ask any of the Occupy Nashville protesters about this, do you think they could give you an honest answer? NO, because they have no idea. Most people just listen to what Mr. Williams has to say (and sometimes he does have some good things to say) and take it as gospel, but in this case he is just telling people what is going to increase ratings but not the entire story. Now don’t get me wrong, investigative reports are great when done in a complete, balanced manner, the same way an audit is helpful to any organization. Unfortunately, when you are just trying to incite people in order to increase ratings or such, it does more damage than good.
And yes, Mr. Jenkins earns a good salary, but look at how profitable NES is. It goes back to the old adage, “you get what you pay for.” Pay a good, competitive salary, and you get good people that are at the top of their field, not just a college graduate who has no real world work experience and no idea how to operate a company, let alone one as complex as NES. Mr. Jenkins is worth every penny he makes as NES is one of the most profitable Metro agencies in Nashville. And if you think Mr. Jenkins get paid a lot, let’s look at Bill McCollum, Jr., COO for TVA who is paid in excess of $1.5 million a year and Duke Energy’s COO James L. Turner who is paid in excess of $4.3 million a year. Neither of these individuals is the president of their respective companies, so you can only imagine what the President/CEO’s are being paid. The last time I looked, TVA had a $24 billion debt due to the 2008 coal ash spill they are still paying for. Bottom line, NES is getting a bargain paying Mr. Jenkins what he makes compared to a lot of other public and private utilities.
These are just my thoughts, and this investigation only took me about an hour of my personal time.