TVA retirees 'reject' proposal to cut $700 million from underfunded pension plan

Staff Photo by Angela Lewis Foster The TVA board talks about the pension changes for employees and retirees during a board meeting Thursday in Chattanooga.

TVA directors said Thursday that changes must be made to the utility's underfunded pension plan, but TVA retirees appealed to the board to modify their proposal to cut $700 million of retirement benefits for the nearly 35,000 employees and retirees covered by the TVA retirement system.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is asking its pension board this month to agree to trim future benefit increases and freeze some employees' pension accounts as part of a 20-year plan to shore up a retirement plan that actuaries say is $6 billion short of what it needs to pay promised benefits.

"Nobody is happy in having to make these adjustments in the pension plan, but it has become necessary for us to address this issue," TVA Director Virginia Lodge said.