A Bad Policy Idea That Refuses to Die
Since April 2014, Sue Kelly has been president and CEO of the American Public Power Association – the voice of not-for-profit, community-owned utilities that power 2,000 towns and cities nationwide. Earlier, she was the senior vice president, policy analysis and general counsel. Under Kelly’s leadership, the association has advocated on wholesale electric market issues, worked to strengthen cybersecurity awareness and resources for utilities and raised the profile of public power in Washington, D.C.
Eighty-five years ago, Congress and then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt had a bold vision: harness the power of the Tennessee River and its tributaries to improve the quality of life in the Tennessee Valley region.
The creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was quickly followed by the creation of the Bonneville Power Administration in 1937 to deliver and sell power from the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest.
Three other Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) were created - Southwestern Power Administration in 1943, Southeastern Power Administration in 1950, and Western Area Power Administration in 1977.
The four PMAs market wholesale electric power to approximately twelve hundred public power utilities and rural electric cooperatives in thirty-three states. Rates are set to cover all costs of generating and transmitting electricity as well as repayment - with interest - of the federal investment in these hydropower projects. Using the same model, TVA provides affordable electric power to more than nine million people in seven southeastern states.