President’s budget proposal could privatize TVA

President Barack Obama’s proposed 2014 budget hints at the possibility of privatizing the government-owned Tennessee Valley Authority in whole or in part.

According to the 2014 federal budget proposal released by the White House, the Tennessee-based utility and power provider would be subject to strategic review as the administration looks for ways to help reduce the country’s deficit.

“Reducing or eliminating the federal government’s role in programs such as TVA, which have achieved their original objectives and no longer require federal participation, can help put the nation on a sustainable fiscal path,” according to the budget.

Divestiture of TVA “in part or as a whole” is an option suggested, though the budget does not present a specific plan detailing the utility’s future.

Though TVA and its resources are owned by taxpayers, the corporation has not received government subsidies since 1998. Regulatory filings show TVA recorded more than $11 billion in sales this past year, and even though it has around $25 billion in debt that counts toward the federal deficit, taxpayers are not legally liable for it.

The TVA, which was created in 1933 as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal, now provides power to nine million in seven southeastern states via a portfolio that includes 29 hydroelectric projects, 11 coal plants and three nuclear power plants.

The Obama administration is not the first to consider the possibility of selling TVA, however, as several presidents since Dwight Eisenhower have also floated similar ideas.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at

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