By Dave Flessner, Chattanooga Times Free Press - bio
Tom Kilgore, outgoing CEO of the Tennessee Valley Authority, is honored at Thursday's board meeting in Rainsville, Ala. Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press
RAINSVILLE, Ala. — Despite the federal pay freeze, the biggest federal employer in East Tennessee is boosting its year-end bonuses — which average $12,000 per employee — to nearly 12,000 workers next week.
The Tennessee Valley Authority plans to hand out "Winning Performance" payments on Wednesday that are up 32 percent from similar bonuses paid a year ago. TVA President Tom Kilgore said the extra pay this fall reflects the utility's success in the past year in cutting expenses and lowering electricity rates despite an unexpected drop in power sales.
"The reason we're paying more this year is because we collected about $800 million less in revenues than we thought we were going to do this year, but our rates were still 5 percent lower than last year," Kilgore said Thursday following his last board meeting as TVA's CEO. "We had a good year, finishing more than $300 million below what was budgeted for operating and maintenance costs and our reliability and performance was among the best in the industry."
Kilgore said the payments are not pay raises per se, but are performance payments based on the utility's success in meeting pre-set standards in the Winning Performance program.