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President’s Budget Suggests TVA Sale

WUOT News, Matt Shafer Powell

(NOTE:  This story was updated on 6/4/14  to include revised debt figures)

For the second time in as many years, President Barack Obama’s budget contains a suggestion that the federal government rid itself of the Tennessee Valley Authority and its $26.3 billion debt.

The idea of divestment in the TVA appeared in the 2014 budget, but this budget takes the concept a step further by suggesting “state and local stakeholders” might be interested in purchasing the Knoxville-based utility.  That group might include state and local governments, power cooperatives and privately-owned energy companies.

The 2015 budgetproposal says the Obama Administration “continues to believe that reducing or eliminating the Federal Government’s role in programs such as the TVA, which have achieved their original objectives, can help mitigate risk to taxpayers.”

The TVA was created in 1933 to manage natural resources, prevent flooding and provide electricity to parts of the Tennessee Valley.  The utility hasn’t received funding from Washington since 1999, but its debt still counts against the federal deficit.

The TVA’s power service area includes 80,000 square miles throughout the Southeastern US and provides energy to approximately nine million consumers.  

ADDITIONAL READING:  A May 2013 Howard Baker Center policy paper on the Federal Government's plan to sell TVA