Democratic News

Jun 21 2018

Cantwell, Alexander Tell Administration to “Abandon Misguided Plan to Sell Federal Transmission Lines”

Says administration proposal will increase electric bills for ratepayers

WASHINGTON, D.C - June 21, 2018, Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said the Administration’s plan, announced in a proposal to reorganize federal agencies, to sell the federal electric transmission assets of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the Power Marketing Administrations (PMA) will increase electric bills for ratepayers.

"The Trump Administration's proposal to privatize BPA is a terrible idea. Replacing cheap cost-based power with more expensive energy is bad for consumers and bad for business,” Cantwell said. “Our cheap hydro system has been the backbone of our economy for decades, allowing many industries to flourish because of low electricity rates. This is a bad idea that has been soundly rejected before and will be again."

“TVA’s continued success and ability to provide low-cost power is vital to the TVA region’s families and businesses. This looney idea of selling TVA and TVA’s transmission lines seems to keep popping up regardless of who is president, and each of those proposals have all been soundly rejected by Congress,” Alexander said. “When President Obama proposed selling TVA in 2013, all it did was undermine TVA’s credit, raise interest rates on TVA’s debt and threaten to increase electric bills for 9 million ratepayers. TVA has among the lowest power rates in the country which, along with its reliability, help bring numerous new businesses to the region.”

Today, the Trump Administration released a plan to reorganize federal agencies pursuant to the Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch executive order signed by President Trump in March 2017. The plan included a proposal to sell the federal electric transmission assets of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the Power Marketing Administrations (PMA).

In March, Senator Cantwell sent a letter to the president opposing his budget proposal to sell the transmission assets of the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and other Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) and encouraged the Administration to work with Congress to ensure federal electric transmission and power marketing continue to deliver value to consumers.

Senator Alexander sent a letter in April to the president signed by every member of the Tennessee delegation urging the Administration to reconsider its proposal to sell TVA’s transmissions assets.

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