OUR OPINION: TVA seeks feedback from its customers

The Tennessee Valley Authority has invited its customers and those with other energy interests to a power-plan meeting in Memphis on Nov. 6 to discuss how the regional electric utility will provide the best mix of energy resources for the next 20 years.

A similar meeting was held Thursday night in Knoxville.

The 7 to 8:30 p.m. CST meeting in Memphis will be at the Memphis Light Gas & Water University, 4949 Raleigh-LaGrange Rd., in east Memphis. Digital registration and participation also is available at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/839194697.

TVA’s 9 million-strong consumer base should take the public meetings seriously and make a record of their views either by written submissions or in online communications.

TVA, the largest public utility in the nation, has an 80,000 square mile service area with a diverse and sometimes controversial base of energy generation operations.

TVA obviously is trying to diminish its exposure for much-criticized coal-fired generating plants as well as avoid the kind of outcry that has accompanied the Southern Company’s construction of a lignite-fired generation plant in central Mississippi – a source of ratepayers’ anger and environmental-interest objections.

TVA also has three nuclear plants, 29 hydroelectric dams, natural gas generators, and one pumped-storage plant, plus renewable sun, wind, and methane gas generation sites.

TVA is a corporation owned by the federal government, but its chief constituency is its customer base, which can and often does seek congressional support for its objections to TVA policy.

More important than partisan issues is TVA’s focus on reliable, clean, and safe energy generation. The northern third of Mississippi is in the TVA service area, including the counties of Northeast Mississippi. How TVA supplies electricity to our region’s customer base is of more than passing interest.

TVA, chartered in 1933, has been a reliable provider of affordable electricity, but it also became a huge bureaucracy and extended organization as it grew. The public meetings like the one set in Memphis hold TVA to its origins as a people’s utility.

TVA’s focus started on the consumers of the valley region – the people for whom it was founded.