TVA board decides to help local power companies with up to $1B in support
The Tennessee Valley Authority announced Thursday the utility will be providing up to $1 billion in “credit support” for local power companies across its seven-state region to help with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
TVA Chief Executive Officer Jeff Lyash said in a conference call the utility’s board of directors voted Wednesday to set up a “credit support” fund that would allow local power companies to delay or defer payments to TVA during the pandemic.
The move, he said, will take financial pressure off local power companies — already hurting because of business shutdowns — and allow them, in turn, to help residents who can’t afford to pay their electric bills during the pandemic.
“As a partner in public power, I’m pleased TVA is able to offer this opportunity,” Lyash said. TVA’s board also “empowered us to cut through red tape” that might stand in the way of “mitigating the economic impacts of COVID-19,” Lyash said. “We are committed to doing the right thing.”
“What we see across the valley is commercial businesses shutting down … and we see residential usage going up,” Lyash said, adding that job losses due to the coronavirus outbreak could mean residents won’t be able to pay their power bills.
Lyash said TVA is encouraging local power companies across its sevenstate region, which includes Tennessee, to work with local residents by waiving disconnection and late fees and setting up payment plans.
TVA will “make arrangements with (local power companies) to (temporarily) forgo (their) bill (owed TVA),” he said.
TVA earlier this week donated 50,000 respiratory masks, as well as safety goggles, to emergency management agencies in Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama.
Lyash said Thursday that TVA is taking steps to ensure the safety of its employees, allowing those who are able to work remotely and limiting travel and in-person work for “essential services only.”
Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, by Jamie Satterfield
The East Tennessee Economic Development Agency markets and recruits business for the 15 counties in the greater Knoxville-Oak Ridge region of East Tennessee. Visit www.eteda.org
Published April 1, 2020