Members of Congress Urge Administration to Reconsider Proposal to Sell TVA Transmission Lines

Posted on April 18, 2018

WASHINGTON, April 18, 2018 – United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today, along with 14 of his colleagues – including every member of the Tennessee delegation – sent a letter to President Trump urging the administration to reconsider its proposal to sell the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) transmissions assets.

“TVA’s continued success and ability to provide low-cost power is vital to the TVA region’s families and businesses. Previous Administrations have proposed selling TVA and its assets and these proposals have all been soundly rejected by Congress. When President Obama proposed selling TVA in 2013, all it did was undermine TVA’s credit, raise interest rates on TVA’s debt, and threaten to increase electric bills for 9 million ratepayers. … TVA has among the lowest power rates in the country which, along with its reliability, help bring numerous new businesses to the region.”

Alexander has called the proposal to sell the Tennessee Valley Authority’s transmissions lines “a looney idea with zero chance of becoming law.”

Co-signatories on the letter include Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Representatives Diane Black (R-Tenn.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), John Duncan (R-Tenn.), Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.), David Kustoff (R-Tenn.), Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), James Comer (R-Ky.) and Trent Kelly (R-Miss.).

The letter reads in full:

Dear President Trump:

We write today to urge the Office of Management and Budget to reconsider its proposal to sell the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) transmission assets. TVA serves 9 million people in seven states: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. TVA’s continued success and ability to provide low-cost power is vital to the TVA region’s families and businesses.

Previous Administrations have proposed selling TVA and its assets and these proposals have all been soundly rejected by Congress. When President Obama proposed selling TVA in 2013, all it did was undermine TVA’s credit, raise interest rates on TVA’s debt, and threaten to increase electric bills for 9 million ratepayers.

TVA’s debt is not backed by federal taxpayers, and TVA does not receive any federal taxpayer subsidy or federal appropriations. TVA has among the lowest power rates in the country which, along with its reliability, help bring numerous new businesses to the region. In the last five years, TVA has supported the creation or retention of 400,000 jobs and $48 billion in new capital investment in our region. TVA’s transmission assets that the budget request proposes to sell, include more than 16,000 miles of line paid for by TVA ratepayers – not federal taxpayers.

TVA is on a good path. Its leadership has made sound decisions that will benefit ratepayers and our region. To fulfill its mission to provide “safe, clean, reliable and affordable power for the region’s homes and businesses,” it has opened the first nuclear power reactor in the 21st century. It is placing pollution control equipment on all its coal plants – so that coal remains a viable part of TVA’s power generation – and it is completing new natural gas plants. TVA has done this while reducing its debt and reducing electric rates, which is good news for jobs and economic development in the Tennessee Valley.

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