Anyone who came to TVPPA’s 2018 All-Member meeting with questions on leadership’s approach to the major issues of the day got an answer right at the top of the nearly four-hour conference.
“We must be standing together, unified,” said TVPPA Chairman Greg Williams. “You don’t know how important that is. It’s extremely important for TVA to understand that we’re speaking with one voice.”
Meeting Feb. 7 in Franklin, TN, nearly 150 TVPPA-member executives heard President/CEO Doug Peters say that TVPPA, Seven States Power Corp. and Distributors Insurance Co. “intend to work collaboratively with TVA on everything that lies before us,” including five primary issues:
• TVA’s Strategic Pricing Plan: “That’s getting pretty well hashed out in the Rates & Contracts Committee,” Peters said, “and it’s leading to all sorts of interesting results, on which many of us have different opinions.”
• TVA’s long-range financial plan: “We weren’t a party to TVA’s first plan,” Peters said, “but we’ll most assuredly be a party to the second.”
• Contract flexibility: “We’re talking about redoing an 80-plus-year-old all-requirements contract,” Peters said. “Why? We need to be able to do some things because our customers want us to – and there are third parties getting between us and our customers.”
• Protecting the public-power model (equity): “Past [Presidential] administrations have attempted to divest [the federal government] of TVA,” Peters said. “We’d like not to have to go through that again.”
• Integration of Distributed Energy Resources: “This is the one that’ll be an interesting nut to crack,” Peters said. “We don’t have the answers, and neither does TVA … we’re at a truly pivotal point with TVA; it’s a new journey for each of us.”
The “unity” keynote was struck again during a District Roll Call panel featuring six TVPPA-member CEOs – Kenny Baird of Lafollette, TN UB; Keith Hayward of North East Mississippi EPA, Oxford, MS; Scott Ramsey of Warren RECC, Bowling Green, KY; Michael Watson of Duck River EMC, Shelbyville, TN; Terry Wimberly of Paris, TN, BPU and Mike Partin of Sequachee Valley EC, South Pittsburg, TN.
“A unified voice from this group couldn’t be more important than it is today,” Partin said. “I think it behooves us to walk, talk and act with a unified voice.”
Wimberly echoed both Partin and Peters.
“I would encourage all of us, as we speak with one voice, to do so with a collaborative spirit, even as we work with TVA,” he said. “As opposed to going in with an adversarial, us vs. them mentality, let’s be constructive when we disagree with them.”
Other highlights of the meeting included:
• TVPPA Government Relations/Communications Director Phillip Burgess’ review of the process by which the long-dormant Government Relations Policy Committee was revived as the Government Relations Advisory Group, with Steve Hargrove of Sheffield, AL, Utilities as the chair. Burgess said TVPPA is planning a stand-alone visit to Washington, D.C., in the year’s third quarter.
• A ‘leadership council’ discussion including TVPPA Chairman Greg Williams, Seven States Chairman Rody Blevins and TVPPA Vice Chairman Terry Kemp.