Senators Tell Administration To Abandon Plan To Sell Federal Transmission Lines

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Senators Lamar Alexander and Maria Cantwell (D-Wa.) said the administration’s plan, announced on Thursday in a proposal to reorganize federal agencies, to sell the federal electric transmission assets of the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Power Marketing Administrations will increase electric bills for ratepayers.

 

“TVA’s continued success and ability to provide low-cost power is vital to the TVA region’s families and businesses.

This looney idea of selling TVA and TVA’s transmission lines seems to keep popping up regardless of who is president, and each of those proposals have all been soundly rejected by Congress,” Senator Alexander said. “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.”

 

"The Trump Administration's proposal to privatize BPA is a terrible idea. Replacing cheap cost-based power with more expensive ?energy is bad for consumers and bad for business,” Senator Cantwell said. “Our cheap hydro system has been the backbone? of our economy for decades, allowing many industries to flourish because of low electricity rates. This is a bad idea that has been soundly rejected before and will be again?"

 

Senator Bob Corker said, “While TVA has not received any taxpayer funding since 1999 and has taken positive steps in recent years to pay down its debt, I do think it’s valuable to evaluate from time to time reforms that could cause TVA to function more effectively for Tennessee taxpayers and ratepayers,” said Corker. “That said, at the end of the day, I continue to believe that selling TVA’s transmission lines would be harmful to the Tennessee Valley and remains a very unlikely outcome.”

 

On Thursday, the Trump administration released a plan to reorganize federal agencies pursuant to the Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch executive order signed by President Trump in March 2017. The plan included a proposal to sell the federal electric transmission assets of the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Power Marketing Administrations.

 

In April, Senator Alexander sent a letter to the president signed by every member of the Tennessee delegation urging the administration to reconsider its budget proposal to sell TVA’s transmissions assets.

 

In March, Senator Cantwell sent a letter to the president opposing his budget proposal to sell the transmission assets of the Bonneville Power Administration and other Power Marketing Administrations and encouraged the administration to work with congress to ensure federal electric transmission and power marketing continue to deliver value to consumers.


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