Farm owners concerned about TVA proposal in Meigs County
TVA officials held a public meeting on Thursday at the Cedar Ridge Seventh Day Adventist Fellowship Hall to answer questions about proposed upgrades to the power grid.
TVA wants to build power lines and a new systems operations center in southern Meigs County that would replace the one in downtown Chattanooga.
Georgetown farm owners told Channel 3 they're concerned because their property could be impacted by the proposal.
Greg Vital grows sunflowers, corn, and millet. He received a letter from TVA earlier this month about a proposed transmission line project.
Vital said the details weren't clear.
"An upgrade on the power line, we understood that, but in that letter, it made reference to additional one mile of power line and access to a secure office complex. No more definition than that,” Vital said.
Vital showed Channel 3 the area where he believes a power line will run through his property and connect to a new systems operations center by Gunstocker Creek.
He said TVA is not being transparent.
"We thought maybe it was going to be more jobs, new economic development site, we understand that, but there's been no communication with property owners or the community as a whole to better understand what their intent was,” Vital said.
TVA Spokeswoman Malinda Hunter said that's not the case.
That's why she said TVA sent out letters and decided to hold an information session.
"What we've drawn on a map, some of it doesn't currently exist. So, that's why we have the information session, we want people to come out, ask questions,” Hunter said.
Hunter said the cost of transforming 167 acres will be $300 million. That includes the new facility, energy management system, and technology upgrades.
"Our current system operations center is 20 years old. We've got a lot of technology upgrades we'd like to make. A lot of the money is going into that as well and the infrastructure,” Hunter said.
Hunter said those upgrades will help TVA provide low rates to all customers.
The proposal will also move at least 175 people from the downtown Chattanooga office to the southern Meigs County facility.
"We all want air conditioning. We all want heating. The fact of the matter is we want to know what the alternatives are, what other routes they have to get to their property,” Vital said.
If the proposal goes through, the power lines would not be in place until late next year. TVA said the facility would be up and running in 2023.
TVA officials said they chose Meigs County because of the rural area, the acreage that would allow them to put in security features, and the proximity to their downtown location.