TVA and the Jolly Green Power Switch continues

TVA and the jolly green power switch continues
February 9, 2011

In a show of awesome giant power, the TVA now has “punished” me with a stiff fee for looking up records on their Green Power Switch program. At first, it was just one delay after another that dragged on for months and that request still has missing pieces that readily should be available.

My first Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request about the program, a program that gives the purchasers of “blocks” of imaginary electricity nothing in return but infers that those donations go for green projects or programs, has been strung out since last June.

The second FOIA request for the record pertaining to the correspondences between the TVA Office of the Inspector General, TVA’s certifier, and the “Green-E” certifying agency, the Center for Resource Solutions (CRS) that gives its imprimatur to TVA, is the issue here. TVA uses its Green Power Switch program as a prime example and has provided CRS with TVA’s justification to qualify for exhibiting their “Green-E” logo.

In correspondences with CRS staff, they have told me they are willing to provide all of the information they have in the way of correspondence between the CRS and the TVA OIG. The TVA OIG will not give their permission to the CRS to release that information to me.

I have been told by the CRS accrediting agency that they would be glad to release to me any correspondences they have had with the TVA OIG if agreeable with the TVA OIG.

However, the records I have asked the FOIA to supply are the correspondences between the TVA OIG and the CRS; the matter of permission from the TVA OIG can be dealt with separately and my FOIA request was modified accordingly.

Here are the items of record I have requested from TVA’s FOIA office.

1. Records containing the five identified exceptions and agreed-upon procedures for the Green Power Switch (GPS) program mentioned on the TVA Office of the Inspector General website in the summary of their report 2009-12590.

2. A copy of the complete OIG audit report 2009-12590 on the GPS program and any other TVA OIG report on the GPS program.

3. All data, correspondence, internal surveys, and external communications with the Center for Resource Solutions regarding the TVA GPS program.

Here comes the “punishment” phase; TVA now wants me to pay $1000 for the TVA OIG to answer the above request. There are ample reasons to be exempted from paying any FOIA fees. I already have registered my objections and should be considered a source of information about the TVA that is widely disseminated.

For example, in the past 12 months I have received 9,249 views of my site, Norsworthy Opinion, which almost exclusively deals with the TVA. And that number continues to climb. (As of March 26, 2011 that number is 10,136)

Can you think of any good reason why TVA would want to hide the requested information? I know of one and that is that the information submitted to the CRS probably does not jibe. It is obvious the TVA has used the faith and good will of the many people who have paid money into a program under false pretenses by saying only that those payments go into the “mix” of TVA programs without any assurance that their money goes to “green” projects or programs.

Recently, I received information from the TVA regarding my first FOIA request mainly about the finances of the Green Power Switch program. One of the answers was startling, to say the least. It seems that TVA has had to “subsidize” (TVA’s description) the Green Power Switch program.

Quoting from my previous article, “The fact that TVA spent $659,803 more than the $2,490,304 received for the GPS program in 2010 does not explain where the extra money came from and whether or not it was included in TVA’s other green power programs.”

The only way to clarify TVA’s creative accounting practices is for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to perform its competent in depth and incisive audit of the TVA, first of TVA’s Green Power Switch Program where it seems millions of dollars have been misused or misspent by the TVA. The challenge to TVA has not been met except to try and “kill the messenger” to avoid answering direct, explicit questions.

Others are welcomed to join the fray. All able bodied men and women are called on to ask TVA questions, questions about practically everything it does. Your questions and TVA’s responses will be published on this site, anonymously if desired. Even a cursory look at the headlines show that TVA is not acting in the best interests of some 9 million people in TVA’s exclusive territory.

The legacy of the TVA is long past; what now is its face is a tawdry, self-aggrandizing federal agency that has no moral compass while it throws ratepayers into a chiasmal abyss of debt.

Ernest Norsworthy

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