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NORTH ALABAMA (WHNT) — This summer, Mother Nature brought hot temperatures across North Alabama. Combine that with record‐high electric consumption and natural gas prices… you’ve probably been seeing high electric bills, something that’s not going away anytime soon.

“Across the nation, every utility is dealing with high fuel costs,” said Scott Fiedler, a spokesperson for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).

“At TVA, we work to manage it to keep our rates as low as possible,” he stated. “Usage drives electric bills. A small part of that is the fuel cost and TVA doesn’t make any profit on the fuel. We’re nonprofit, we’re your public power company… so, it’s in our best interest and yours to have us operate efficiently to keep bills as low as possible.”

The TVA says gas and coal rates remain much higher than the three-year average rates. Natural gas pricing is still unpredictable and an increase in the sales forecast is also contributing to the higher fuel rate.

Fiedler says the November total monthly fuel cost will go down a little from October.

Beginning with bills on November 1st, the total monthly fuel cost will be 2.944 cents per kilowatt-hour for residential and business consumers.

“Set your thermostat [at] 67/68, whatever is comfortable for you, and leave it. Change your furnace filter. If you do have a smart thermostat, set it and let it run. It will save you money,” Fiedler explained.

The November fuel rate is higher than the three-year average, mostly because of economic factors and geopolitical events but Fiedler says it’s consistent and lower than the last two months.

“We have a lot of hydro and nuclear power, and solar and wind. We’re using those assets to help mitigate that cost,” he added. 

If you’re struggling to pay your utility bill, TVA recommends giving your local utility company a call. They say they may be able to help lower your bill or at least point you in the direction of financial resources.