(Credit: Knoxville News Sentinel)

The TVA board voted unanimously Thursday to change its rate structure, cutting its wholesale power rate by a half-cent per kilowatt-hour, and imposing a half-cent fixed fee per kilowatt-hour instead.

TVA officials say the controversial move won’t bring in more money than the current billing system, but critics denounce it as shifting more costs from big industrial customers down onto rate-paying homeowners.

TVA board members are meeting in Florence, Alabama, on Thursday.

At a 90-minute morning “listening session,” members of the public, environmental and social groups, and power industry representatives gave mostly negative comments on the proposal.

Primary reasons were greater impact on the poorest ratepayers, and the assertion that a flat fee will discourage energy efficiency.

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