Our Response to COVID-19

Message from Jeff Lyash, TVA President & CEO

Our world is challenged with an issue of wide-ranging scale and human impact. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. At TVA, there is no higher priority than the health and well-being of our employees and the welfare of the nearly 10 million people we serve.

We understand the important role TVA plays in the safety, comfort and convenience of everyone in our service area. We plan and prepare for scenarios like this. Over the past several weeks, we have been making informed decisions to ensure we can protect our employees and minimize any impacts on the vital services we provide. 

I have never been prouder of how our team members have stepped up to their commitment to our unique and compelling mission. Through their hard work and coordination with our public power partners in local power companies, we are confident we can maintain a reliable flow of electricity to homes and businesses across the Tennessee Valley through this difficult time.

I urge everyone to remain vigilant and continue to take the necessary preventative steps recommended by health agencies to keep you and your family safe. Together, we will get through this challenge, as we have so many in the past. 

Jeff Lyash
President & CEO


What is Impacted

As of April 6, the following TVA recreation areas are closed:

  • Beech River walking trail
  • Boone Beach Recreation Area
  • Chatuge Dam Recreation Area
  • Cherokee Dam Recreation Area
  • Chickamauga Dam Recreation Area (including Taylor's Ramp boat ramp)
  • Fontana Dam Appalachian Trail shelter and overlook
  • Fort Loudoun Dam Recreation Area (including restroom)
  • Guntersville Dam - North & South Side day-use areas and boat ramps
  • Kentucky Dam East Bank public use area (West Bank boat ramp closed due to flooding damage)
  • Melton Hill Recreation Area
  • Nickajack Dam Recreation Area (day-use area near powerhouse)
  • Norris Dam Recreation Area (including weir dam, gazebo fishing area, Clear Creek and horse trailer parking areas)
  • Norris - Palmers Junction area
  • Normandy Dam Recreation Area (including headwater boat ramp and tailwater canoe launch) 
  • Pickwick Dam Recreation Area and boat ramp (closed due to flooding damage)
  • Raccoon Mountain Recreation Areas
  • South Holston Dam upper overlook and walking trail picnic areas 
  • Tellico Dam Recreation Area (including bath house and access road to beach)
  • Watts Bar Dam Recreation Area (including headwater boat ramp)
  • Watts Bar - Jackson Island area
  • Wheeler Dam Recreation Area (including fishing hut, CCC pavilion and tailwater restroom)
  • Wilson - Rockpile Recreation Area

TVA-managed campgrounds at Cherokee, Douglas, Melton Hill, Pickwick and Watauga dams have delayed their opening for the season until after the current outbreak abates. In addition, recreational whitewater flows on the Ocoee River are temporarily discontinued to align with U.S. Forest Service and Tennessee State Park closures.

TVA facilities placed on minimum staffing due to localized heavy COVID-19 outbreaks and to better maintain physical distancing, but are available to respond to urgent operational needs:

  • Gallatin Fossil Plant
  • All gas and hydro generating plants
  • Transmission field staffs

TVA employees in support and administration functions are working remotely, and travel is restricted.

What is NOT Impacted

  • Reliable electricity
  • River management, flood control and navigation
  • Select special project work, including the Boone Dam repair and projects with regulatory deadlines
  • Access to TVA trails and undeveloped lands
  • TVA lakes remain open along with nearly 90 TVA-managed boat ramps (except those in the closed recreation areas noted above)

What we are doing to help protect employees and supplemental workers

April 6, 2020

Because they are the ones who provide essential services that nearly 10 million people count on every day, our overriding priority is the health and safety of our employees during the COVID-19 outbreak. We’ve been phasing in new actions over the past few weeks as the situation has evolved. As of April 6, some of these actions include:

  • Ensuring that employees report the first sign of potential symptoms and then stay at home
  • Providing trained medical professionals to answer questions and track any potentially ill team members
  • Moving all support and administrative personnel to remote work, which increases physical distancing for those who must be on-station in operations facilities
  • Preventing all business travel except for mission-critical activities and strongly discouraging unnecessary personal travel
  • Limiting access to our facilities by not permitting visitors and restricting critical area access to only essential personnel
  • Implementing medical screening for employees reporting for duty, and providing enhanced off-site medical screening for supplemental outage personnel before they report to their work location
  • Increasing the frequency of cleaning with CDC-recommended techniques and with the appropriate personal protective equipment
  • Minimizing face-to-face meetings to the limit possible without compromising safe work practices
  • Restructuring outage and routine activities to delay non-critical work and increase physical distancing where possible

We continue to closely monitor the situation and follow both federal and state guidance for safe work behaviors. We stand ready to implement additional actions, as needed, to ensure the health of our team members.


Employee health & safety

April 2, 2020

As we continue to closely monitor the situation with COVID-19, a TVA employee has tested positive for the virus and is now recovering. Following TVA policy, the employee reported potential symptoms in mid-March and, based on medical advice, immediately self-isolated. We wish our teammate a speedy and full recovery.

Based on the employee’s rapid reporting and TVA’s effective response, additional exposure to other TVA employees and facilities was limited. Employees in the closest contact to the impacted individual were automatically placed in self-isolation when the initial symptoms were first reported. TVA facilities are being cleaned on a frequent basis as a preventative action. Many TVA employees have moved to remote work to provide further physical distancing with those team members who must still staff our operation facilities to maintain reliable power supplies.

Our overriding priority remains the health and safety of our employees and the public as we also carry out our unique responsibility to maintain vital services that include energy generation and transmission and river management. We continue to coordinate with local power companies and other responding agencies, and we are focused on efforts to help slow the spread of disease while preventing any major impacts to the vital services we provide.


TVA Supporting TN State Parks, Forest Service Actions on Ocoee River

April 3, 2020

In support of current state and federal COVID-19 health guidelines, TVA is temporarily discontinuing recreational releases on the Ocoee River starting April 4, 2020. This action aligns with closing access to all Tennessee State Parks, the temporary shutdown of developed recreation sites in Cherokee National Forest and the suspension of commercial whitewater rafting on the Ocoee River until at least April 18.

The health and safety of employees and the public is TVA’s top priority. For information, on closures at Tennessee State Parks and National Forest recreation areas, please visit https://tnstateparks.com/about/keeping-visitors-healthy or https://www.fs.usda.gov/


TVA Expands Recreation Area Closures Due to Evolving COVID-19 Outbreak

April 2, 2020

In response to enhanced public health guidance from federal and state authorities, the Tennessee Valley Authority is closing additional public recreation areas to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The closures will begin on Friday morning, April 3, and will continue indefinitely.

TVA recreation areas at Chatuge, Cherokee, Fort Loudoun, the south side of Guntersville, Normandy, Norris, Tellico and Watts Bar dams, as well as all recreation areas at Raccoon Mountain, will be closed. They join the previously closed recreation areas at Chickamauga and South Holston dams, and the Rockpile area near Muscle Shoals, Ala.

Boat ramps within the impacted areas will also be closed, as well as all picnic areas, restrooms, beaches and pavilions. The public is asked not to bypass gates, fences or barricades to access the closed areas. Law enforcement officers will be patrolling closed areas.

TVA river access points located at locations outside the affected recreation areas remain open at this time. Trails on the more than 200,000 acres of undeveloped public land TVA manages also remain open at this time.

TVA will continue to monitor the evolving COVID-19 outbreak and will take additional actions, as necessary, to help protect public health and safety. 


TVA Launches Initiative to Strengthen Public Power COVID-19 Response

March 26, 2020

The Tennessee Valley Authority announced Thursday an initiative to support increased flexibility for local power companies who are responding to urgent community and customer needs during the ongoing response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

TVA will make up to a total of $1 billion of credit support available as an option to local power companies through the deferral of wholesale power payments based on the needs of individual local power companies.

“The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the communities we serve is unprecedented and creates a degree of economic uncertainty in the weeks and months ahead,” said TVA President and CEO Jeff Lyash.

“We recognize that we have a responsibility to leverage TVA’s resources and expertise to provide local power companies the stability and flexibility to address the unique challenges faced by their customers.”

Detailed plans will be customized for each participating local power company based on individual needs and financial impacts. A portion of the local power company’s monthly TVA wholesale power payments would be deferred for a period during the ongoing COVID-19 response and an appropriate repayment plan will be put in place.

The new initiative builds on actions TVA has already taken to provide regulatory flexibility to allow local power companies to halt disconnection of electric service and respond quickly to their customers’ immediate needs.

“The strength of public power is a passionate commitment to serve people over balance sheets,” said Lyash. “This is perhaps more critical today than it has ever been.”

“Just as they have through February flooding and March storm recovery, our TVA team remains committed to working with all 154 of our local power company partners to benefit the communities and customers we jointly serve, especially during these challenging times.” 

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving nearly 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system, and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.


TVA Maintains Focus on Providing Reliable Critical Services

March 16, 2020

As part of its continuing response to the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, Tennessee Valley Authority employees working in certain support and administrative functions will begin using telework processes beginning on Wednesday, March 18.

Specific decisions on telework are being made by individual working group leaders. TVA’s office complexes remain open and all power generation, transmission and river operation facilities remain appropriately staffed, although visitors continue to be restricted.

This latest action is a continuation of a phased response plan designed to increase social distancing to protect employee health while maintaining a focus on reliably providing vital services to nearly 10 million people across the Valley.

Like all utilities, TVA maintains detailed plans preparing for situations, whether natural or man-made, that may challenge its ability to fulfill its mission. The plans prioritize making informed decisions that protect employees and the public while minimizing any impacts on operations.

Previously, TVA had announced the closure of visitor centers and postponed the opening of managed campgrounds near Cherokee, Douglas, Melton Hill and Watauga dams. International and non-mission critical domestic business travel for TVA employees has been restricted, as has non-critical meetings of more than 10 people. Public meetings and outreach activities led or supported by TVA personnel have been postponed for at least the next 30 days.

TVA leaders continue to monitor the evolving outbreak, as well as coordinate with federal agencies and local power companies, and are prepared to take additional actions, as needed, to ensure the health and safety of the employees and the public.


TVA Facility Impacts Due to Coronovirus Outbreak

March 13, 2020

As part of its ongoing response to the coronavirus outbreak, TVA is closing its Raccoon Mountain visitor center and delaying the opening of additional visitor centers and the five campgrounds it operates near its hydroelectric dams. In addition, visitor access to all TVA office facilities is being restricted.

Staffed visitor centers at Fontana, Norris and Kentucky dams that were originally scheduled to open on Saturday, April 4, will be delayed until the current outbreak has abated.  Unstaffed visitor centers will remain open along with more than 200,000 acres of TVA’s managed public land.

TVA’s campgrounds at Douglas Dam headwater and tailwater, Cherokee Dam, Melton Hill Dam and Watauga Dam originally scheduled to open on Sunday, March 15, will delay their opening dates by at least 30 days.

In addition, TVA offices and service centers located across its service area are restricting visitor access. Members of the public requiring assistance with TVA’s environmental stewardship activities, including 26a permits and land use permits, should contact the TVA Public Lands Information Center at 800-882-5263 or by e-mail at plic@tva.gov.

We regret the inconvenience caused by these necessary decisions to protect employees and the volunteers who staff our facilities.


Frequently Asked Questions

March 23, 2020

Reliable Energy

Q. What is TVA doing during the pandemic?
A. Our priority is protecting employee and public health as we continue to provide reliable energy and other critical services to the region. We have implemented and are following our agency response plan and staying in touch with the CDC, other federal and state agencies, and local power companies and communities to ensure coordination.

Q. Will my power stay on during this period?
A. Yes, TVA employees are working hard to keep energy flowing to the region around the clock. Employees in some jobs are teleworking and others are onsite at locations across the Tennessee Valley to supply energy and manage the Tennessee River system. We have plans in place to ensure those vital missions continue.

Q. Will my power get turned off if I’m unable to pay my bill?
A. In our role as regulator, TVA is working with all 154 local power companies who provide electric power to nearly 10 million people across seven states. We are offering support and flexibility to ensure they are in the best position possible to address local conditions and the concerns of their members and customers. Please reach out directly to your local power company to determine what programs are available that may provide assistance during this difficult time.

Q. Will my bill go up because I’m home all day?
A. The cost of power isn’t changing because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The biggest factor in your energy bill is how much energy you use, and being home more could change your energy use. Raising your thermostat by as little as one or two degrees in warm weather (and lowering it by one or two degrees in the winter) will help keep your bill lower than it would be otherwise. TVA power rates are among the lowest in the nation, and we encourage people to make their homes and businesses as energy efficient as they can, so their bills aren’t higher than necessary. TVA and many local power companies offer programs to help consumers use energy wisely. See www.energyright.com for information and energy-saving tips.

Recreation

Q. Are TVA lakes open?
A. Yes, TVA's lakes remain open. Nearly 90 TVA-managed boat ramps still allow access. However, unique times call for unique measures to protect you, your family and other residents using our facilities. To help prevent large group gatherings, we've closed the recreation areas noted below. Know that all public restrooms are closed along with all beach areas, visitor centers and large group pavilions, so plan accordingly. Just like other locations, maintain the proper social/physical distancing and avoid any group of 10 or more people.

As of April 6, the following TVA recreation areas are closed:

  • Beech River walking trail
  • Boone Beach Recreation Area
  • Chatuge Dam Recreation Area
  • Cherokee Dam Recreation Area
  • Chickamauga Dam Recreation Area (including Taylor's Ramp boat ramp)
  • Fontana Dam Appalachian Trail shelter and overlook
  • Fort Loudoun Dam Recreation Area (including restroom)
  • Guntersville Dam - North & South Side day-use areas and boat ramps
  • Kentucky Dam East Bank public use area (West Bank boat ramp closed due to flooding damage)
  • Melton Hill Recreation Area
  • Nickajack Dam Recreation Area (day-use area near powerhouse)
  • Norris Dam Recreation Area (including weir dam, gazebo fishing area, Clear Creek and horse trailer parking areas)
  • Norris - Palmers Junction area
  • Normandy Dam Recreation Area (including headwater boat ramp and tailwater canoe launch) 
  • Pickwick Dam Recreation Area and boat ramp (closed due to flooding damage)
  • Raccoon Mountain Recreation Areas
  • South Holston Dam upper overlook and walking trail picnic areas 
  • Tellico Dam Recreation Area (including bath house and access road to beach)
  • Watts Bar Dam Recreation Area (including headwater boat ramp)
  • Watts Bar - Jackson Island area
  • Wheeler Dam Recreation Area (including fishing hut, CCC pavilion and tailwater restroom)
  • Wilson - Rockpile Recreation Area

TVA-managed campgrounds at Cherokee, Douglas, Melton Hill, Pickwick and Watauga dams have delayed their opening for the season until after the current outbreak abates. In addition, recreational whitewater flows on the Ocoee River are temporarily discontinued to align with U.S. Forest Service and Tennessee State Park closures

Q. Can I still go out on TVA public land?
A. During these challenging times, we know that it’s more important than ever to be able to relax and unwind, which is why TVA is working so hard to provide more than 200,000 acres of undeveloped public lands and trails for your use. However, we encourage you to maintain the appropriate physical distancing and avoid large groups. Also, follow the guidance provided the Leave No Trace environmental education program.  Remember, all public restrooms are closed along with all beach areas, visitor centers and large group pavilions, so plan accordingly

Q. I had reservations at one of the TVA-managed campgrounds impacted. What do I do?
A. We understand the impact the COVID-19 outbreak has had on vacation plans as we took the difficult but necessary steps of delaying TVA managed campground openings to help protect the public. While we will hope to announce the reopening of the impacted campgrounds as soon as possible, we must still follow guidance from the CDC to implement best practices to “Flatten the Curve”. If you have current reservations through April 30, please contact the campground where you have reservations directly. They will be able to assist you with securing a refund or providing instruction regarding rebooking your reservation later in the year, pending our return to normal operations. The following is a link to the Recreation Resource Management: https://camprrm.com/parks/, which includes site-specific contact information. If you have further questions please feel free to contact us through our Public Land Information Center at 1-800-882-5263.

Health & Safety

Q. Did TVA have a plan for this type of event?
A. Like all utilities, TVA has extensive plans in place for dealing with any type of event that could interfere with our mission of service. That does include infectious diseases, like COVID-19. Since the beginning of the year, we’ve been carefully monitoring how the COVID-19 outbreak has been developing and adjusting our plans to be ready for this specific issue. We will continue to adapt our plans to be ready for whatever the future may bring us.

Q. What is TVA doing to prevent the spread of coronavirus?
A. Our overriding priority is the health and safety of our employees and the public. We remain focused on efforts to help slow the spread of disease and prevent major impacts to the vital services we provide. We are following CDC recommendations and working to be consistent with local health organization requirements in localized high outbreak areas.

As part of our company-wide response plan, we are taking a number of actions. These include encouraging employees with potential symptoms to stay home, increase physical distancing through telework for administrative and support personnel, restricting access to our facilities and implementing health checks for employees reporting to work, eliminating all but mission-critical travel and discouraging group gatherings through virtual meetings.

We have also closed some of our recreation areas to help slow the spread of the virus.

Q. Are TVA employees still traveling around the Valley?
A. All TVA travel is restricted to critical business functions only, and we are encouraging employees to avoid unnecessary personal travel. We encourage our employees to use phone or video conferencing to meet instead of traveling.

Q. Will any of these practices change if the spread of COVID-19 increases?
A. We are closely following COVID-19 levels, and we will continue to follow the guidance from the CDC and take actions in line with CDC guidelines and our company-wide response plan. This includes necessary precautions to keep our employees and the public safe. Throughout this situation, you have our commitment that we will do everything we can to continue supplying reliable, low-cost energy for the nearly 10 million people we serve, while protecting employee and public health and safety.

Suppliers and Contractors

Q. Will there be a delay if I have a scheduled delivery to make to TVA? Any special requirements for suppliers or contractors?
A. Please see the TVA Coronavirus Update on our Supplier Connection web page for the latest information about Coronavirus impact on suppliers and contractors. If you have a specific question about your particular contract, please contact your TVA contract manager.

Projects

Q. What happens if TVA crews were working on my property?
A. To help protect the health of our own team members, as well as the public, we are delaying work on many non-mission-critical jobs, including right-of-way vegetation maintenance and routine transmission line maintenance and construction. Crews are expected to leave each work area in a safe condition, but full restoration of the property may be delayed until after the current COVID-19 outbreak has eased. We apologize for this inconvenience but will return to finish our work as soon as possible. If you have any questions, please contact the TVA Transmission Right of Way team at rowcustomer@tva.gov or (844) 812-2626.

Q. Is work on the Boone Dam Project continuing?
A. Yes, our project work is continuing at Boone Dam. The safety of our workers and the public continue to be our top priorities. We are keeping workers safe by maintaining social distancing, deep cleaning and practicing good hygiene. Those workers not directly involved in construction are teleworking. As of April 6, about 100 of the 307 pilings that will form the underground cutoff wall are complete and more are under construction.

General

Q. Will TVA still be conducting public comment periods on various issues?
A. Yes, we will continue to use the NEPA process while making decisions, and we count on public input. Draft and Final Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements will continue to be posted on our website. Our public comment process will remain in place as well. We encourage your engagement in this process and appreciate your input. If you have questions about our process, each document on the website includes our contact information.

Q. What are the symptoms associated with COVID-19?
A. Common signs of infection are a combination of fever, dry cough and shortness of breath, according to the CDC. To learn more and stay current with the latest COVID-19 guidance, visit one of these special websites developed by the federal government:

Q. What precautions are recommended to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
A. Recommendations in the CDC guidelines include social distancing, coughing and sneezing etiquette, hand hygiene, routine cleaning of surfaces, and avoiding exposure to those who are ill. To learn more and stay current with the latest COVID-19 guidance, visit one of these special websites developed by the federal government:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Impacted?

Reliable Energy Questions

Recreation Questions

Health and Safety Questions

Suppliers and Contractor Questions

Boone Dam Questions

General Questions

How TVA’s Helping

The current Coronavirus outbreak asks the best of us—that we do what we can to make life better in the Tennessee Valley even under these difficult conditions. We’re going above and beyond our commitment to keep the lights on, Here’s how.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has established a landing page on CDC.gov with the latest information from the CDC and the overarching medical community on COVID-19. The page provides information on how COVID-19 spreads, symptoms, prevention and treatment, stigma, what to do if you are sick and frequently asked questions. See https://www.coronavirus.gov.

What the U.S. Government is Doing

https://www.coronavirus.gov/

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/

https://www.usa.gov/coronavirus

https://www.usa.gov/espanol/coronavirus (Spanish)

Energy Saving Tips

Here are some tips to save power and money as these challenging times change how and where we use electricity:

For homeowners

Reduce the strain on your HVAC system – your home’s largest energy user – by adjusting your thermostat to 78°F for cooling, and 68°F for heating.

Lower your water heater temperature. By setting the temperature to 120°F, you reduce the energy needed to heat the water. 

Turn lights and electronics off when not in use. TVs can use up to six times more energy than a light bulb, so turning them off will help you save energy. 

Unplug your electronic devices and chargers when not in use. Many electronics consume energy even when they are switched off – unplugging ensures you are not wasting energy.

Run full loads in the dishwasher and the washing machine whenever possible - the amount of energy used is the same regardless of how full they are. Air dry your clothes and dishes to save even more.

Fire up the grill or use a microwave to cook your food. Conventional ovens use more energy and create excess heat in the kitchen, which can be uncomfortable during warmer weather.

Click here to learn more about how to save energy around your home.

For businesses

Remember to turn off all lights, even those in display cases. If you won’t return for an extended period, you may want to turn off breakers for outdoor lights controlled by photocells (ambient light sensors).

Adjust thermostats to 85°F during warmer months and set fans to “Auto.” It is very important to not turn off the AC, as that can lead to higher humidity inside your facility and mold. If you have specialized equipment and the building will be empty, you can close fresh air dampers to save more energy.

Unplug non-essential equipment. Consider removing all food and defrosting and unplugging refrigerators and freezers.

Close blinds and drapes to reduce cooling expenses.

If you have any leaky faucets, urinals, or water closets, shut off the water supply and repair when the facility reopens.

Click here to learn more about how to prepare your business for reduced occupancy or temporary closure during COVID-19.