TVA’s 69 cent special

TVA’s 69 cent special
February 4, 2011

Maybe they thought nobody would notice much that TVA is adding an “average” of 69 cents on every bill for TVA electricity to pay for an act of gross negligence committed by TVA itself. Yes, it would be mandatory, yes, it is a mandate like the mandate to buy Obama health insurance.

But wait! A Florida federal judge ruled just this week that the entire Obamacare law was unconstitutional, contrary to the law of the land. The parallel unappealable law TVA will mandate comes from a separate government, a so-called self sustaining government we know as the Tennessee Valley Authority.

That’s right, it gets no federal appropriations and it acts like it is a separate private corporation and for much of its history it claims self sufficiency. There’s a problem with that when you have to borrow billions just to roll over present debt. A $1.5 billion 10 year bond sale this week at nearly 4% interest is not chicken feed, either on the amount of the bonds or the amount of interest TVA must pay. Let me rephrase that, the amount of debt piled higher and higher on TVA’s ratepayers is unsustainable.

Maybe the saying, “that’s not worth 2 cents” but because of inflation it could be said “that’s not worth 69 cents”. Pushing debt farther and farther down the road is not the answer TVA thinks it may be. The day of reckoning comes when the credit card is over the limit and bondholders are hollering for their money and TVA will find out that 69 cents a month from ratepayers is not nearly enough.

The Congress, which shuns anything to do with the whole TVA debacle, will be slow and reluctant to act because they do not want to include TVA in the appropriations process. That of course, would mean they must at least look at TVA to justify any new moneys given to them.

Taking on another soon to be $30 billion TVA debt to add to the already $14 trillion national debt would be peanuts. But it’s about time somebody up there started looking at the “root cause” of much of that debt. They will find that it comprises of millions of piles of unwisely bought peanuts.

Using TVA’s taxing logic of the 69 cent special means almost anything, particularly any costly mistakes of TVA management, could be an “add on” to a TVA electricity bill. For example, TVA’s Green Power Switch program was greatly overspent by $659,803, according to Ms. Jenny Wright, GPS Project Manager.*

Now if TVA wanted to recapture that over spent amount of $659,803 it would be a simple matter to include one more item on electricity bills for “Green Power Switch” of a certain amount for 12 months or for any period TVA chooses.

There are all kinds of devilish gimmicks TVA could pull to raise more revenue. Selling imaginary “blocks” of electricity has topped them all so far.

It boggles the mind how far away TVA has strayed from the original 1933 TVA Act. And just as mind boggling is why the TVA has not been ruled unconstitutional long ago.

69 cents “average”? That and a nickel won’t even get you an average cup of coffee.

Ernest Norsworthy

*“GPS revenue did not cover program expenses in 2010. Our revenue was $2.5 million and our expenses (energy costs, site maintenance, program administration and advertising) were over $3 million. There are no other accounts containing GPS revenue. However, the program is important to TVA and the decision has been made to subsidize program expenses in the years where revenue doesn’t cover costs in order to keep the program operating until the program goal of revenue-neutral is achieved.”


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