Kilgore Says TVA Must Change To Succeed
Top-to-bottom Improvements Under Way
January 21, 2010
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Tennessee Valley Authority President and CEO Tom Kilgore said Thursday the federal utility is making good progress in cleaning up the Kingston ash spill site and is restructuring its operations to better serve customers and successfully address the environmental, regulatory and financial issues that will face the electric power industry in the coming years.
“Despite TVA’s many attributes, we know from recent experience that there is much we can do to make it a better organization. And my message to you today is that we’re doing it,” Kilgore said in a speech to the Chattanooga Rotary Club. Kilgore said TVA is taking the “good, the bad and the ugly” from 2009 into account in launching a “top-to-bottom effort to improve how TVA is structured, managed and operated.”
“We will never make it perfect,” Kilgore said of the 12,000-employee federal corporation that provides power, economic development assistance and environmental stewardship to a seven-state region. “But we can make it better.”
TVA has a long record of accomplishment in its more than 75 years of operations, yet Kilgore said he is convinced that “for TVA to survive another 75 years, it must change.”
Kilgore said TVA has learned important and painful lessons as a result of the Dec. 22, 2008, ash spill at the Kingston Fossil Plant. Those lessons are now being applied throughout the organization.
“We’re creating a culture of accountability, so that every individual, not out of fear but out of a sense of proactive duty, takes responsibility individually so the organization can be responsible collectively,” Kilgore said.
The chief executive said this is more than a “shuffle-the-deck-chairs” reorganization. Rather, he said TVA has begun one of the most comprehensive assessments in its history as the utility prepares for a future that will require new sources of power generation and tougher environmental requirements.
“We want to ensure that TVA is ready for the tough challenges that are surely coming,” Kilgore said. “We don’t want TVA to simply survive; we want it to thrive.
“Most of all, we want the people we serve to see us as a great organization that is focused on making their lives better,” he said.
Some 2009 highlights mentioned by Kilgore:
- TVA electricity rates were 15 percent lower for the average residential customer in December than the median rate of 23 surrounding utilities.
- A 10th consecutive year of delivering power to distributors and industrial customers with 99.999 percent reliability.
- A TVA workplace injury rate in 2009 that was “among the very lowest in the industry.”
- In the Kingston spill cleanup, more than 2.3 million cubic yards of ash were removed from the Emory River, with the expectation to have “substantially all of the ash out of the river by this spring” 2010.
- A $170 million expenditure for more sulfur and ozone controls on coal-fired power plants, bringing TVA’s total investment in clean-air technologies to $5.3 billion since 1977.
- Meeting a record winter peak power demand of 32,572 megawatts.
- Despite the recession that resulted in a 7 percent decrease in electricity demand from the previous year, TVA played a strong role in helping attract $4.2 billion in capital investments to the region in 2009 that resulted in 26,000 new or retained jobs.
"You expect from us safe, reliable, affordable electricity, and you expect us to preserve and improve the Tennessee Valley, environmentally and economically,” Kilgore told the Chattanooga Rotarians.
“My goal is to meet these expectations,” Kilgore said.
TVA is the nation’s largest public power provider and is completely self-financing. TVA provides power to large industries and 157 power distributors that serve approximately 9 million consumers in seven southeastern states. TVA also creates economic development opportunities and manages the Tennessee River and its tributaries to provide multiple benefits, including flood damage reduction, navigation, water quality, and recreation.
TVA News Bureau, Knoxville (865) 632-6000