Photo courtesy of TVA.

Photo courtesy of TVA.

The Oak Ridge Electric Department has acquired a new plug-in hybrid bucket truck to reduce noise and increase fuel efficiency, according to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).

The governmental utility is one of several local power companies partnering with the TVA to provide hybrid powered bucket trucks in the area. Trucks with the plug-in hybrid system can achieve up to 50 percent improvement in fuel economy when compared with trucks using traditional diesel- or gasoline-fueled engines.

In addition to being more fuel efficient, the trucks reduce noise to create a safer working environment.

"Now the crew member in the bucket truck and the people on the ground can communicate clearly," said Jack Suggs, electric director for City of Oak Ridge. "That gives us an added layer of safety while giving us the opportunity to reduce the amount of vehicle emissions in the area."

Part of the TVA program includes implementing electric charging stations in at least two locations in the Oak Ridge area. One of the charging stations will be public.

In all, 17 TVA-served utilities are receiving the plug-in hybrid system, including 12 in Tennessee, two in Mississippi, two in Alabama and one in Kentucky. Other participating utilities in eastern Tennessee include the Knoxville Utilities Board and Bristol Tennessee Essential Services.