Nashville, Tenn. – Your electric bill may surprise you this month. Many customers bills have doubled or even tripled from this time last year. NES has not had a rate increase in nearly three years, but these factors have contributed to higher bills: TVAs rate increases (7% in April of 2008 and 3.1% in October of 2008) TVAs fuel cost adjustment (23.9% increase cumulatively from April to October 2008) Colder weather – according to the National Weather Service, the average temperatures have been colder for November and December of this year compared to last year Days in the NES meter reading cycle – due to the way the holidays fell this year, there were more billing days on many customers bills than last year “We are changing some of our policies and procedures to help customers finding it difficult to pay their electric bills,” NES President & CEO Decosta Jenkins said. “Extending the amount of time allowed to pay bills, working out payment arrangements, spreading portions of a bill over several months, waiving late fees, and more lenient cut-off policies are examples of changes we are making to assist customers.” “We understand that these are difficult economic times for customers,” Jenkins continued. “The cost of many things that are vital in our daily lives has increased – food, clothing, housing – and electricity. We are committed to working with customers on a case by case basis to help ensure that their power stays on. For the month of December we made more than 31,000 payment arrangements on customers behalf.” Customers having difficulty paying their bills may call NES Customer Relations at 736-6900. Call wait times are longer than usual due to the increase in calls for assistance. However, employees are working overtime, and temporary employees are being hired to help shorten the wait. Changes have also been made to the automated phone system to allow more calls to be received.