Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Paying Your Power Bill At Partner Organizations

The Johnson City Power Board (JCPB) offers its customer owners a variety of convenient methods to pay their monthly bill. Included in these is a partnership with three local banks that have been authorized by JCPB to accept payments on its behalf. JCPB customers may pay their bill at any local First Tennessee or Johnson City Federal Credit Union branch so long as they hold an account with them. JCPB bills may also be paid at any local Bank of Tennessee branch regardless of whether or not they are account holders at the bank.

While the above relationships are officially recognized and authorized by JCPB, there are a number of other stores and banks that accept payments to remit on the customer's behalf. However, these services are not sponsored by the JCPB and are sometimes problematic for the customers using them. To better understand the differences between how payments to an official partner versus any other service/organization are received by JCPB, please consider the following.

Payments to Authorized Organizations:
  • Only local branches of First Tennessee, Johnson City Federal Credit Union, and Bank of Tennessee have been authorized by JCPB to accept payments on behalf of its customers.
  • Payments received at these locations are time-stamped and applied directly to customers' accounts without delay. This means that paying a JCPB bill at one of the above locations is essentially the same as paying it directly to JCPB.
Payments to Unauthorized Organizations:
  • These include online payment services from banks and counter services at department stores (i.e. Wal-Mart)
  • Payments received through these services are not recognized by JCPB until the funds arrive.
  • Payments to these services are typically sent to JCPB as a cashiers’ check written on the customer's behalf and sent through the mail. This process may result in the funds arriving at JCPB several days after they were originally submitted by the customer.
  • Customers using unauthorized organizations will be held accountable for when their funds actually arrive at JCPB's offices. This means that if a customer pays a bill through a third-party organization and the funds are delivered to JCPB after the payment was due, their account will be subject to any applicable fees and penalties including disconnection of electrical services.
To ensure that your payments are received in a timely manner, please take advantage of one of JCPB's many convenient payment options. Pay online at; over the phone at (423) 282-JCPB (5272); at any of our official partner organizations (listed above); or in person at 2600 Boones Creek Rd. in Johnson City. If you do choose to use your bank's online bill pay service or another unauthorized organization or service, please do so well in advance of your bill's due date and with a clear understanding of the potential consequences.

If you have any questions about how to pay your JCPB electric bill, call (423) 282-JCPB (5272) to speak with a customer service advocate or email us at

Monday, October 24, 2011

Changes Coming to Credit Card Transactions at JCPB

Modern technology affords us conveniences in nearly every aspect of our daily lives. In the realm of commerce, the ability to transfer funds electronically has revolutionized our modern marketplace. So prevalent are credit cards now that many people no longer carry cash at all. Yet, as with any advancement, unintended consequences are bound to become evident as time goes by. Regarding credit cards; customer information and finances have quickly become easy targets for sophisticated cyber-criminals and petty thieves alike.

The Johnson City Power Board (JCPB) is committed to excellence in customer service with special concern for the privacy and security of customers’ personal account information. While all JCPB employees are vetted and held to the highest standards of honesty and integrity, it is nonetheless essential for them to be removed from the handling of customers’ private information as often as possible. To ensure the security of customers’ credit card information, JCPB representatives will no longer handle credit cards or notate card information as of 10/24/2011.

So, what does this mean for JCPB customers who wish to make electronic payments on their electric bills? As of 10/24/2011:

1. Customers making credit card or e-check payments over the phone will enter their own information onto, JCPB’s secure automated phone terminal. While representatives will remain available to discuss any account related issues, they will transfer customers to the self-service payment system whenever a payment is to be processed over the phone.

2. Customers making credit card payments inside JCPB’s lobby will swipe their own cards at self-service countertop terminals located at the Cashier.

While these changes will undoubtedly take some time to be accustomed to, they will have little effect on the convenience of the various payment options offered to JCPB customers. However, the overall improvements in the security of private information will be well worth the change. This is just another way the Johnson City Power Board is able to uphold its commitment to excellence in customer service.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Post Storm Assessment

On Wednesday, April 27 2011, a severe thunderstorm accompanied by fierce wind gusts and several tornadoes plowed through Johnson City Power Board’s (JCPB) service territory. The storm wreaked havoc throughout our community as it ripped through trees, houses, barns, vehicles and anything else with the misfortune of occupying its path. The destruction, albeit isolated, was catastrophic. However, damage to JCPB’s infrastructure was relatively light in comparison to other recent storms.

At the height of this storm’s intensity, JCPB officials had difficulty assessing damage to its distribution system. Real-time reports from customers were minimal as were inquiries from the local media. This untypical lack of reporting combined with opaque sheets of rain and hail obscured JCPB’s view of its system beyond its substations. Now that the dust has settled, the carnage strewn within the storm’s wake has become painfully apparent.

All told, approximately 1,000 customers lost power; mainly along highway 107 and within the Blackley Creek and Fall Branch communities. While this number is less than what is typically described as a wide-spread outage, extensive damage to poles and transformers prevented full restoration of JCPB’s infrastructure from being completed until nearly 5:00 PM the following Saturday. Even now after replacing 54 broken poles along with many of the power lines and transformers supported by them, nearly 500 JCPB customers remain without electrical service. However, these remaining services cannot be re-energized until residents complete work to their homes and gain the approval of a State Electrical Inspector. Unfortunately, this state mandated process will inevitably prevent many of those affected from reconnecting electrical services for several more days.

As our families, friends, and neighbors work to reclaim and rebuild what was so abruptly taken from them, be mindful of their unique challenges and needs. Even though the storm has passed, its scars endure.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Power Board Hosts First of Three Community Forums

Johnson City Power Board (JCPB) recently hosted the first of a series of community forums at the Jonesborough Visitor Center. Named The Smart Grid Road Show, the program consisted of a comprehensive presentation detailing the utility’s adoption and deployment of smart grid technology followed by an open question and answer forum. JCPB President & CEO, Homer G’Fellers, facilitated the presentation while JCPB Chief Officers addressed details specific to their individual responsibilities. Their presentation offered past, present, and future perspectives on utility operations and offered a glimpse into the technology and rationales driving changes within JCPB and the electrical industry.

JCPB Chief Public Relations Officer, Robert White, offered,” These events give us a chance to speak face-to-face with our customers to help them understand all the changes happening within our company and in the Tennessee Valley. It’s also a great opportunity for folks to come out and meet with our staff to get answers to any questions they might have about our company, their accounts, or anything else related to our products and services.”

Accompanying the presenters were representatives from JCPB’s Customer Service, Tree-Trimming, and Marketing and Energy Services departments. A remote online connection to customer account information was available to accommodate on-sight review of individual account information. The next event will be held in Johnson City at the Carver Recreation Center on Thursday, May 12 between 7 and 8:30 PM. The final event will follow on the next Thursday, May 19 between 7 and 8:30 PM at the Fordtown Ruritan in Sullivan County. Please bring your family, tell your friends, and come spend an evening learning about what’s in store for our company and community.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Arbor Day Celebration & Smart Grid Road Show

Spring is a great time to get together with our neighbors to celebrate nature and find out what’s new in our community. To help us do a little of both, the Johnson City Power Board (JCPB) is sponsoring two upcoming local events: From the Roots Up Arbor Day Celebration and The Smart Grid Road Show. Each of these events is free and all are invited to attend.

Because there were no existing local events celebrating Arbor Day, JCPB, the Appalachian Fair, and the Northeast Tennessee Master Gardeners Association (NETMGA) partnered to create From the Roots Up, an event supporting the Arbor Day Foundation’s mission to, “…inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees.” The celebration will take place on April 22 and 23 with a wide variety of activities held daily between 9am and 4pm at the Appalachian Fairgrounds in Gray. This Inaugural celebration features a 5K Run/Walk, the first annual Miss Arbor Day Natural Beauty Pageant, an Easter Egg Hunt, inflatable attractions, numerous seminars, demonstrations, and much more. Attendees will have an opportunity to purchase trees and plants while getting advice on placement, care, and cultivation in a relaxed and fun-filled environment. Seminars will be offered by knowledgeable representatives from both NETMGA and JCPB.

Bill Hunt, Certified Arborist/Utility Specialist and JCPB Tree-Trimming Supervisor, offered, “Whether people want to come and buy trees, learn about how to plant and care for them, find someone qualified to do the work, or just to have some good clean family fun, From the Roots Up will have something for everyone. Pike Electric is coming to show their Live-Line Demonstration on Saturday at 9 and 10:30am. This demonstration is amazing! It shows what happens when tree limbs and other everyday items come into contact with an energized power-line. This is a great opportunity for our local first responders and customers to see first-hand what they should and shouldn’t do around live and downed power lines.”

The second series of upcoming events is the JCPB Smart Grid Road Show which will allow JCPB executive staff to brief customers on current projects and how they will impact utility services and operations. During the event, JCPB President and CEO, Homer G’Fellers, will facilitate a presentation followed by an open question and answer forum. JCPB Customer Service representatives will also be present with a live remote connection to customer account information while Marketing/Energy Services representatives and Tree-Trimming Supervisors will be available to answer any questions. The available resources and expertise will afford JCPB customers an opportunity to address questions ranging from account/billing information, energy efficiency/audits, TVA programs, tree trimming practices/policies, or just about anything else.

The Smart Grid Road Show schedule is as follows:

• 4/21/2011: Jonesborough Visitor Center 7:00-8:00 PM
• 5/12/2011: Carver Recreation Center 7:00-8:00 PM
• 5/19/2011: Fordtown Ruritan 7:00-8:00 PM

Come on out and take advantage of these great opportunities to learn and have fun with your families and neighbors. Additional information on the events can be found at and Power Plugs.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

From the President & CEO's Desk:

In an attempt to address growing concerns from the Johnson City Power Board (JCPB), its employees and customers, the utility's President & CEO, Homer G'Fellers, has drafted a letter to express his unabridged views directly. A copy of this letter may be viewed here.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Encountering A High Electric Bill

It is that time of year again! Winter is well under way in East Tennessee, and not only are we feeling it outside in the harsh weather, but also on our electric bills. While it is not uncommon to see an increase in your electric bill this time of year, you may begin to wonder how or why your bill has increased. Many factors play into these increases and the JCPB wants to be able to help you with any questions or concerns that you may have.

This season has already presented us with record low temperatures, snow storms, power outages, and more. Unfortunately, this is out of our control, but we would like to give you some helpful tips in order to lower or better maintain your electric bill.

Factors Affecting Your Electric Bill:
Some factors should be taken into consideration when receiving a high bill. “Do you have an open fireplace? (If so, approximately 25% of heat is escaping your home.) Is your home poorly insulated? Do you have a leaky water heater, which causes the water heater to “run” more often? What type of appliances are you using? What type of heating system do you have? How big is your home? Did you have guests at your home during this billing period?” These are all important questions to consider.

There are some other key points to remember during this season as well. Do take into consideration that the days are shorter during the winter, which means that more lighting is required. Colder weather also tends to force people to stay inside. As a result of this, more entertainment items, such as televisions, computers, and game systems, are being used. People also tend to cook more when forced indoors. Fireplaces are another area for concern. Blower systems on wood heaters, gas, oil, and coal furnaces are apt to run fairly often.

Did you know that about 60% of your electric bill comes from use of the heat pump? A very important rule to remember, especially during this time of the year, is the “SET IT AND FORGET IT” rule. This means set your thermostat between 68 and 72 degrees and leave it. Do not continually adjust your thermostat, as you will see an increase in price on your bill. Just “set it and forget it.” Also make note that for every degree you set your thermostat over 70 degrees it will increase your bill by 3 to 5 percent.

How to Reduce Your Use:
• Change your filter at least once a month
• Keep interior doors open for better circulation of heat
• Do not use auxiliary heat
• Make sure registers are not blocked
• Check your ductwork and insulation for potential air leaks
• Close the damper on your fireplace in order to reduce heat loss
• Adjust your thermostat to somewhere between 68 and 72 degrees
• Use natural light whenever possible

Check out our Home Energy Library at for detailed information.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Smart Grid 101: Terminology Overview

Recently the media has been abuzz with hype surrounding the creation of a “smart grid.” As with most technological advancements, the advent of the smart grid has brought with it a host of new acronyms and terminologies. We thought it might be helpful to identify and define several key terms:

Automated Meter Reading (AMR): Meters transmit data via wireless radio frequency to a data collection device; readings must be gathered within a limited range of the meter; one-way communication from meter to a data collection device.

Advanced Meter Infrastructure (AMI): Utilizes advanced technology to create a communication network between a utility and its meters; two-way communications between utility and meters. The meters we will deploy communicate by relaying information wirelessly from one meter to the next. This allows for real-time data collection, asset monitoring and asset control; forms basis for smart grid.

Time of Use Rates: This describes a new rate structure being implemented by the TVA wherein electricity rates will vary according to its relative cost during a given time of day. This will resemble the cell phone rate structure many of us have come to know which allows for reduced rates on calls made during “off-peak” hours.

Stay connected at where we will offer additional educational resources as we move forward on the deployment of our new smart grid.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Help JCPB Take A Load Off

The Johnson City Power Board (JCPB) is preparing to launch a new program designed to help our utility/community reduce our local demand for electricity during peak usage times. Coined Take A Load Off (TALO), the program utilizes remotely controlled disconnect switches installed on customers' appliances known for their high demand for electricity. TALO will make its debut on JCPB customers' water heaters. Tank water heaters have been chosen for their unique ability to act as energy storage devices; they are able to provide the comfort and convenience of hot water at one time after having used electricity to heat the water at an earlier time.

TALO water heater switches will afford JCPB the ability to send out a command to participant's water heaters which will postpone the reheating of water during peak usage times. For example, let's assume that the majority of JCPB customers use hot water shortly after waking each morning. After sitting idly through the night, their water heater tanks are full of hot water which is readily awaiting the many showers and baths so many of us use to begin our days. Once that water is used, the water heaters refill and begin to heat the influx of cooler water as its heating elements switch on. However, as this water is heating the majority of us will be eating breakfast, getting ready for work/school, and heading out the door. Consequently, most of us will not have a need for hot water again for several more hours. It is during times like this when JCPB hopes to activate TALO water heater switches to postpone the reheating of water for a short time to help reduce electricity demand.

During winter months when our morning routines include the rewarming of our homes, demand for electricity is often very high creating great demand for electricity across the entire Tennessee Valley. These times of highest demand are known as peak demand events. A peak demand event may require Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to bring additional electricity generating plants online or purchase electricity from a third party. These solutions are both costly and inefficient and could easily be avoided by simply shifting some of the associated usage to another time of day.

While the amount of electricity saved by turning off just one water heater's elements is relatively small, thousands of TALO participants would afford JCPB the ability to realize significant reductions in demand during peak usage times. With enough customer participation TALO will help reduce JCPB's wholesale electricity costs, thus reducing our customers' electricity costs. However, the best thing about TALO is that JCPB is offering this opportunity free of charge. In fact, not only will we pay for the equipment and installation of the TALO direct load control switches, but we will even pay a $50 cash incentive to any of our qualifying customers who agree to sign up. All you need to qualify is to be the owner of your property with an electric water heater that has no less than a 40 gallon capacity.

So what's the catch? There isn't one! To get additional information, or to sign up to be a part of our Take A Load Off program, please call JCPB's Marketing and Energy Services department at (423) 952-5142.