MUC approves refinancing of debt

The Morristown Utilities Commission approved refinancing some of its debt Thursday that will hopefully save the utility almost $2 million over a three-year period.

Clark Rucker, assistant general manager of the utility, told commissioners that they had looked at new interest rates proposed by Raymond James that would help lower the rate on around $27 million in outstanding bonds.

The savings would be on the front end, he said.

“The bulk of that would be the first three years,” Rucker said.

He told commissioners that the lower interest rates would mean around a $700,000 savings per year the first three years. After that, the savings would be around $10,000 to $15,000 a month.

Commissioners agreed that they liked the front-end savings of the deal, so voted 5-0 for a bond issuance as well as voting 5-0 to approve Raymond James handling the bond arrangements.

The item will now go before the Morristown City Council to be voted on.

The commission also heard from Brian Delozier, power system manager, about a new initiative to use solar power to help bring in additional power to the utility.

Delozier said that TVA had agreed to let Morristown Utilities partner with Appalachian Electric Cooperative on the issue.

Jody Wigington, general manager for Morristown Utilities, said this was the first time that TVA had let two power providers partner up for solar power.

Delozier said there was a vendor that the two companies were speaking with that would provide more than 64,000 solar panels.

If the deal goes through, it would put Morristown Utilities at the maximum capacity of self sustaining power that TVA allows.

The commission voted 5-0 to approve the potential deal.

Delozier said he could not provide the name of the vendor at this time due to AEC also seeking to approve it during its board meeting.

The item will come before the AEC board next week.