The possible death knell of the Tennessee Valley Authority as we know it came suddenly with little warning but even ample warning could not prevent the catastrophic destruction of thousands of homes and business throughout out TVA’s 80,000 square mile territory. Many hundreds have been killed.
From Mississippi to Virginia death and destruction spared hardly any community in the vicious path of hundreds of tornados. Most of the major transmission lines of the TVA were down and while no official estimates of the costs to repair and replace destroyed lines and transformers is available, it is clearly apparent that it will take billions of dollars to restore power to its previous level in TVA’s huge territory.
There is no way possible for ratepayers to pay for all of the destruction and yet, because of TVA’s financial structure the burden rests on them. In the past few days before the storm, billions of dollars of TVA’s penalties were dumped in the laps of ratepayers.
While those billions cannot not be borne by ratepayers these storm damages are unimaginably impossible for ratepayers to absorb.
Now is the time for all seven governors in TVA’s territory to require that the TVA tear down their 2500 mile fence that prevents citizens inside that fence from getting electrical power from any source that is available. To have millions wait on TVA to bring on line all of its severely damaged power lines and buildings before relief is available would be unconscionable.
If it were me, I think I’d “siddown and shaddup” as Jimmy Carter’s mother once told him to no avail. Yes, TVA CEO Tom Kilgore just revealed something that TVA had been hiding since 2005. Looking over his 80,000 square-mile federal domain, “Tom Kilgore says it looks like the region's economy is starting to turn around.”
And just as the cock crows heralding the rising sun he thought he was bringing forth, so does TVA proclaim the recession is over. The rooster may keep his reasons to himself, but the TVA boisterously crows at just about any and everything.
This time, letting the cat out of the bag, Kilgore says that despite the unemployment rate of over 10% in most of his territory, the number of jobs the utility helped create rose last year for the first time since 2005. What? Even after all of those glowing remarks about how many jobs TVA has “saved”?
Quoting your article, “TVA's economic development efforts helped attract or retain 41,000 jobs. The size of the increase is partly due to TVA changing the way it counts jobs. For 2010, 12,500 jobs were saved or added at existing businesses.”
This is one of the oldest of TVA tricks; they just change the numbers so they look good for TVA. Of course, TVA never explains how they jigger the numbers. (TVA’s Green Power Switch program numbers for example just do not add up.)
There are 9 million people under federal price controls for electricity in TVA’s territory; TVA is a $10 billion collector of those set rates and yet TVA tries to squeeze out some paltry numbers by changing the way it counts jobs. Brush it off as just more hype? That’s one of the problems; people are not looking enough behind TVA’s rhetoric, its tissue of lies, obfuscations and fraud.
How would I know, you might say? Well, I have been researching TVA for years and the game winds up at the same place every time, TVA releases only what they want the public to know while often glossing over the other half of the truth, the whole truth.
Can something be “partially true”? For TVA, that’s a way of life.
Better yet, why not kick the TVA off the grid? After all, it belongs to the U.S. taxpayers. All it takes is for enough ratepayers, that is, the ones who are forced to pay for any frivolous things TVA wants, all it takes is the will to push Goliath out.
At 9 million people strong, it looks like the townspeople have more than the advantage. Egypt’s a good example but they do not have a backup plan so they might be subject to a more unfortunate outcome.
Yes, if it walks like a duck, etc. could it be that it is not AFLAC?
To quote the Bard, “the first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”! (Just kidding)
More and more ratepayers are becoming irate with the TVA, its highest paid federal employee in the land, Tom Kilgore, and the whole secretive machinations of TVA’s budget. They only release financial information they choose to, the rest is harder to get than pulling hen’s teeth.
The way TVA acts, you’d think I have deluged them with Freedom of Information Act requests; nope, only two of them currently yet they want me to pay a “fee” of $1,000 for their staff to look up data that readily should be available to the public.
TVA is a horrible example of how the FOIA system is supposed to work. In fact, it is just the kind of stonewalling I’ve gotten from the TVA that brought about the FOIA law in the first place.
But I’m a patient man, the requested information will be outed sooner or later; looks like later at this point.
“Weep, the people”.
When a federal agency does something “suddenly” (not a trait of federal agencies) and suspicions immediately are not answered, speculation can become rampant.
Because TVA does not have a good reputation of acting with alacrity, a sudden move can seem calamitous. Maybe not; but it calls into memory the Browns Ferry nuclear fire and the continuous problems TVA has had with the Browns Ferry plant.
The inherent flaw in the Browns Ferry design in not planning for more coolant capacity has been a costly one and may delay its ability to operate efficiently until millions are spent in increasing tower cooling capacity.
TVA’s huge mismanagements costing ratepayers billions of dollars just in the nuclear area have been economically disastrous and ironically, CEO Kilgore believes that would be one factor in lessening the salability of TVA’s assets.
The continuous push to “refurbish” technologically old, no, ancient, abandoned nuclear plants clearly exhibits a management mindset that is not prudent, cost conscious or innovative.
TVA cannot get around the fact that it has saddled ratepayers with an enormous debt, now at about $25 billion, much of it from bad management mistakes twenty years ago. And there is not enough income stream to prop up a greatly expanded management staff with a CEO that is the highest paid federal government worker in the country.
Was Bajestani fired? If so, that in itself is an unusual action by TVA management because “no one ever gets fired from the TVA” as the saying goes. Then it must be something very serious leaving to speculation whether or not Bajestani became a security risk.
Where is Bajestani today? Is there a serious illness involved?
Because TVA is not forthcoming immediately, particularly regarding anything nuclear, only wild speculation remains.
What will the TVA report to the Securities and Exchange Commission about the “event”? To the Nuclear Regulatory Commission?
The answers eventually will be forthcoming even while TVA plays its cat and mouse routine.
It seems that TVA always is shooting itself in the foot; this time better answers are demanded and more quickly.
Case dismissed! (But its not over till its over)
Chattanooga Times Free Press
January 14, 2011
See how TVA plays the game? Up a little, down a little but always more "up".
The Fuel Cost Adjustment game is up TVA, tell how you are going to "refill" the overcharged FCA account without increasing the FCA or base rate? A clue, does the word “borrow” come into play?
You may recall that TVA “accidentally” overcharged ratepayers about $800,000,000 then started repaying the overcharge bit by bit so it would appear that ratepayers were getting a break when it was their money in the first place. Oh, the subterfuge! That’s like standing at the gas pump with overflowing gasoline all around and pretending not to notice it.
But since TVA already spent the overcharged millions they decided to “pay back” that fund with another $800 million as reported to the SEC. I’m counting that one as fraudulent.
I don’t think the SEC, the TVA OIG or even the FBI should investigate this apparently underhanded deal between the TVA and “Chicago investors”.
This one should go directly to the U.S. Attorney General for investigation and possible criminal prosecution. Nobody grossly over pays for property without some arcane reason, usually underhanded. This appears to have been a very big sweetheart deal.
Again, it is the appearance of wrongdoing that generally gets TVA in trouble and then they have to spend much time and money justifying their actions while wasting ratepayers’ money.
In a recent case, I have been requesting information from the TVA through their FOIA office about their “Green Power Switch” program which appears to be fraudulent. The first response from the TVA five months after making the request is pitifully skimpy and misleading. I have requested that they take another look at my straightforward questions and try to answer them in a comparable and straightforward manner.
This seems to be part of TVA’s cultural problem; to hide, to avoid giving information, and failing to factually report on their actions. What TVA usually puts out is hyperbole and they do not back up most of their grandiose assertions. (See TVA’s economic benefit statements)
Some way, somehow, TVA must be held accountable for its mistakes; that is a trait long missing from the TVA.
If you believe the EPA is powerless to force the TVA to correct its environmentally haphazard ways, please think again. Only one example has to come to mind, the takeover by EPA of the Kingston debacle clean up now under the supervision of the EPA.
Then after mandating a successful completion of the hazardous waste material matter, EPA can use it as a show-horse of what should be done in a non-regulatory way.
And so go two federal agencies sparring all the way while nonplussed ratepayers continue paying mounting environmental bills.
There is, of course, a solution...
I’ll bet that billion dollar contribution to TVA’s retirement fund came from the billion dollars worth of 50-year non-guaranteed bonds TVA just sold. One of the best kick the can down the road federal operations around, TVA continues to jiggle the books to make things look better than they are.
They’re masters of this deceit and when TVA CEO Tom Kilgore whines about the possibility of a “surcharge” for electricity transmission on TVA’s grid, he evasively states that TVA is not a drain on the budget and that they already charge for other’s use of TVA’s wires. Whoa!
Number one, where does the extra income go for use of TVA’s wires? The answer to that one is very revealing. In a note to a TVA response to questions about the Green Power Switch money, TVA said, ““Cash from sales of electricity go to TVA’s
account with the U.S. Treasury.”
As to the “drain” on the federal budget, it’s the ratepayers who Kilgore needs to worry about because TVA continues to “drain” their pocketbooks while they have no say about it. Can’t blame Kilgore for standing up for his $3.6 million salary though, I’d do the same.
In other words, the payment for electricity by ratepayers actually goes first to the U.S. Treasury. If that is not a federal tax, I don’t know what one is. With that logic, it would be possible for Treasury simply to divert cash to where it is most needed and let the TVA bleed. Did I hear someone say TARP again? (Urp)
Like Reed Hundt says, there’s nothing new about abolishing the TVA. While I am in complete agreement that this should have been done many decades ago beginning in the 1930s, TVA has survived if not stronger, very different.
There is hardly a comparison with the original TVA and what it has evolved into today. You could say that because TVA is acting far beyond its original purposes a strong case could be made that it is operating illegally. In fact, the legality of the TVA never specifically has been ruled on, only on surrounding issues.
TVA has weathered many a storm from as far back as President Eisenhower (Dixon-Yates controversy), Senator Goldwater and President Reagan. All of these powerful men believed that the TVA was a form of “creeping socialism” and that it should be stopped.
Several amendments to the TVA Act including the so-called “fence” have only allowed the issue to fester some more. And TVA hasn’t been fenced in either. They have great expansionary plans.
The TVA has spent untold millions in legal expenses fighting off the world from an indefensible position of competing in our free enterprise society. It was not government that led the way to an enormously successful capitalist society, no; it was the entrepreneurial spirit of accomplishment available through America’s freedom loving Constitution.
You will not find the likes of the TVA anywhere in that Constitution; the interpretation of it to allow the TVA to survive the 30s has to be a fluke since most of the other New Deal programs could not survive the plain words of the Constitution.
I have been writing about the TVA for some ten years and it seems that some of my thoughts about the TVA have trickled out in the right places.
I hope it happens but there is one trouble spot and that is TVA’s enormous and unsustainable debt of over $20 billion and commitments extending past TVA’s $30 billion debt cap. (It is ludicrous to think that a “cap” would be placed on any other electricity utility in the U.S.) No straight answers are available as to how that debt would be handled. Presently, it appears that the ratepayers are responsible; but what about the bondholders who bought under TVA’s fraudulent AAA ratings? The government explicitly says it will not guarantee those bonds. Somebody will be left holding the bag and you can be sure it will not be a single federal employee.