Speaking at TVPPA’s Feb. 7 All-Member meeting, Chairman Greg Williams emphasized the importance of the Association’s membership speaking with “one voice.”
TVPPA took that to a new level less than a week later, when it joined with the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association (TECA) and the Tennessee Municipal Electric Power Association (TMEPA) in issuing a joint response to President Trump’s call for the sale of TVA’s transmission assets. In his budget proposal for FY 2019, released Feb. 12, Trump suggested that proceeds from such a sale would help offset the cost of his $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan.
After consulting with its Government Relations Advisory Council, TVPPA joined TECA and TMEPA in answering the President’s proposal:
• All three associations strongly support the public-power model, and fear the sale of TVA’s transmission assets would have a negative effect.
• All three associations believe TVA’s transmission assets should not be sold to interests who might not place a priority on public power or the Valley’s interests.
• All three associations noted that it’s been more than 25 years since Congress last appropriated money to TVA.
• All three associations cited a 2013 study by the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, which found that TVA had, by then, returned to the U.S. Treasury more than double the federal government’s original investment – $3 billion from Valley ratepayers vs. $1.4 billion.
• All three associations believe that because proceeds from such a sale would go to the U.S. Treasury, divestiture would not benefit Valley ratepayers.
• All three associations intend to pursue all options to protect electric ratepayers, and the TVA assets for which they have paid more than twofold, as well as the public-power model, which is as relevant today as it was 80 years ago.
• All three associations noted that divestiture of part or all of TVA assets has been proposed in the past. Each time, Congress has vehemently rejected those proposals. In a statement released by his office, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-TN, said the President’s proposal has “zero chance of becoming law.”