America's biggest federal utility could come under state and local ownership if Congress goes along with a plan proposed today by the Obama administration.
In the White House budget for fiscal 2015 released today, the Office of Management and Budget suggests Congress consider selling the Tennessee Valley Authority to state or local governments, power cooperatives or other energy companies. The proposal advances the idea floated by OMB a year ago for the federal government to dispose of TVA to help cut the federal debt associated with the government-owned utility.
"The administration continues to believe that reducing or eliminating the federal government's role in programs such as TVA, which have achieved their original objectives, can help mitigate risk to taxpayers," OMB suggests in its budget plan for next year. "The administration recognizes the important role TVA serves in the Tennessee Valley and stands ready to work with the Congress and TVA's stakeholders to explore options to end federal ties to TVA, including alternatives such as a transfer of ownership to state and local stakeholders."
TVA was created by Congress in 1933 as part of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. The federal agency manages the Tennessee River and its tributaries and provides electricity to 155 power cooperatives and municipalities in pats of seven states across the Southeast.