TVA officials guarded, tense amid talks of federal divesture

Top officials of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) gathered Thursday for a meeting described by local media as “tense” amid the revelation that the federal government is considering privatizing the storied utility, The Daily Herald reports.

TVA President Bill Johnson said the company will cooperate with what the Obama administration has termed a “strategic review” of the TVA’s place in the federal portfolio.

“We take direction from the administration,” Johnson said. “Inside TVA we don’t engage in guesses about political posturing or anything else.”

TVA board member Peter Mahurin referred to the idea of selling off the TVA as a “trial balloon,” insisting that monopoly services, such as power providers, work best when publicly owned.

Some have speculated that the administration’s review of the TVA—an idea first publicized as an item in Obama’s FY2014 budget proposal—may be only a strategic volley in the administration’s ongoing talks with budget hawks over the national debt. TVA reportedly had $24.5 billion in debt at the end of last year.

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