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Glossary of TVA Terms


Bonds. Debt instruments that are issued for a period of more than one year. When an investor buys a bond, he or she is lending money to the seller of the bond. The seller agrees to repay the principal amount of the loan at a specified time. Interest-bearing bonds pay interest periodically.  TVA issues bonds with different structures, maturity dates and interest payment frequencies, and in several different currencies. Read about TVA bonds.

Business incubators. Facilities designed to help new businesses get started by providing affordable rental spaces, onsite support services and technical assistance (including financial and legal advice) in a unique environment that fosters growth. Read more about TVA-supported business incubators.

Bicentennial Volunteers Inc. A nonprofit organization that provides experienced retirees to support TVA projects and programs. Through two affiliates, Retiree Resources Corporation and National Emergency Assistance, retirees also perform paid temporary contract work for TVA or the Federal Emergency Management Agency. View information on retiree organizations.

Department of Energy. Federal agency that ensures the nation’s energy security, maintains the safety and reliability of the nuclear stockpile, cleans up the environment from the legacy of the Cold War and promotes innovation in science and technology.

Environment and Technology.  The organization with overall responsibility for TVA’s environmental, natural resource stewardship, and research and development programs.

Environmental policy and principles. Board-approved statement of TVA intentions and principles concerning TVA’s environmental performance, which provides a framework for action and for setting environmental objectives and targets. Read more.

Environmental Protection Agency. Federal agency whose mission is to protect human health and safeguard the natural environment.

Equal Employment Opportunity policy. Policy by which TVA provides equal opportunity in employment to all employees and job applicants. It prohibits discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age (40 and over), disability or reprisal, and develops comprehensive affirmative action programs designed to overcome the effects of past or present employment policies that may operate as barriers to equal opportunity.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Independent commission that regulates the transmission of oil and natural gas, the transmission and wholesale sale of electricity and the licensing of hydroelectric companies.

The Fence. Limitation on TVA’s sales of electricity passed by Congress as an amendment to the TVA Act in 1959. The amendment restricted TVA’s ability to make sales of electricity outside its service territory, creating what is known as the “fence.” See Tennessee Regulatory Authority First Report on Electric Deregulation in Tennessee.

Fossil Power Group. Organization that has overall responsibility for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of TVA’s 59 coal-fired units and 93 combustion turbines.

Green power, or green energy. Electricity that is environmentally preferable by virtue of the energy resource used to produce it. Unlike fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas, green power is produced by sources that are naturally renewable. Energy sources for green power include solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and hydropower. Read about TVA’s green power program.

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Institute of Nuclear Power Operations. Organization created by the nuclear electric utility industry in 1979 to promote the highest levels of safety and reliability in the operation of nuclear generating plants.

Investor-owned utility. A for-profit private company that is owned by stockholders and provides a utility, such as water, natural gas or electricity, to a specific service area.

Kilowatt-hour. The basic unit of power that TVA sells.

Megawatt-hour. A thousand kilowatt-hours.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission. An independent agency established by the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 to regulate civilian use of nuclear materials.

Public power. Term that denotes the nearly 3,000 consumer-owned electric utilities in the United States. They include municipalities and other government-owned utilities, cooperatives and public-power districts. Together they provide more than 25 percent of the nation’s electricity to about 74 million people, operating in every state except Hawaii. Read more.

River Operations. The organization responsible for operating and maintaining TVA’s integrated river management system, which includes 49 dams, 29 hydroelectric power production stations, one pumped-storage project, and 14 locks located across a seven-state region. This system is managed for multiple benefits, including navigation, flood damage reduction, power supply, recreation, water quality, and water supply.

Power System Operations. Organization responsible for delivering power to TVA’s customers.

TVA Nuclear. Organization that has overall responsibility for the operation and maintenance of TVA’s nuclear facilities and programs.

TVA Police. TVA’s nationally accredited law enforcement agency, which provides protection for TVA properties and employees as well as the 100 million annual users of TVA recreation facilities.

Tennessee Valley Public Power Association. Association that provides comprehensive and cost-effective services to electric utilities within the Tennessee Valley region.

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(865) 632-6000

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