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Athens Electric projects a need for new substation

By Holly Hollman
hhollman@decaturdaily.com 340-2445

ATHENS — Due to population growth, the Athens Electric Department is going to need a new substation in its eastern territory and more personnel.

Electric Department Manager Gary Scroggins told the Athens City Council on Monday that in five years, the department will need a new substation on U.S. 72 near the French's Mill substation, or it will have to rebuild a larger French's Mill substation. That would cost about $4 million.

Scroggins said for fiscal 2008, he'll need a new line crew, assistant staking engineer, geographic information systems technician and supplemental pay for a lead foreman.

Scroggins said the department is expected this year to hit a demand for 1 billion kilowatt hours for the first time in the department's history.

The department serves 70,000 customers throughout Limestone County, generating $70 million in electric sales. That's up from $40 million in sales in 1997.

"And it's cheaper to do business with us," Council President Harold Wales said.

Scroggins said that according to Tennessee Valley Authority statistics, 85.9 percent of other distributors pay a higher rate than Athens customers. For business and industry, depending on facility size, the percentage of those under other distributors paying more than those in Athens ranges from 70 percent to 84.4 percent.

Scroggins said Athens hasn't had a local rate increase in 10 years. The city does pass on any TVA-imposed rate increases.

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