TVPPA has taken the right tack in terms of engaging TVA’s board of directors on issues of common interest to both parties.

That was the consensus of a Leadership Panel discussion that highlighted the 2019 All-Member Meeting, conducted Feb. 6 in Murfreesboro, Tenn. TVPPA Chairman David Wade was joined on the panel by Vice Chairman Jeff Newman and Seven States Power Corp. (7SPC) Chairman Rody Blevins. Illness prevented Seven States Vice Chairman Greg Fay from attending.

“We’ve worked hard to have more of a voice,” said Wade, who, along with TVPPA President/CEO Doug Peters, won praise from Blevins for their efforts in that arena.

“David and Doug have done a great job the last six months opening a dialog between the local power companies and the TVA board,” Blevins said. “We’ve provided the TVA board with quite a bit of information, and I think they’re listening.”

Peters started the meeting with a summation of TVPPA’s front-and-center issues, including protecting the public-power model, the previous week’s announcement from Memphis, Tenn., LG & W that it’s evaluating its options for future power supply and TVA’s long-range financial plan, with its attendant rate increases. Attendees also heard from Seven States Vice President Betsey Kirk McCall and TVPPA Vice President Clint Wilson on 7SPC’s progress on various fronts, including its electric-vehicle charger project.

On the subject of protecting the public-power model, which some in TVPPA’s ranks refer to as an “equity” position for TVPPA, Newman acknowledged that there wasn’t a “clear path” to that goal.

“The Valley’s grid was built on the backs of [our] customers and members,” he said, “and I’d like to see some of that equity come back to the Valley in some way, shape or form.”

The meeting drew 155 attendees, who represented 95 TVPPA-member utilities.