By JEFF JOBE
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is the largest public power agency in the United States, and they are currently attempting to pursue rewriting power contracts at a fast rate with their local power companies. The Glasgow Electric Plant Board (GEPB) is one of them.
The absolute clear reason for the change is their need to solidify their business well into the future. It seems that several local power companies are looking into other options including leaving the TVA system, and some have already announced their move.
These more educated customers are looking for options to offset rising energy costs that seem to be making TVA customers among the highest. GEPB won’t even share comparison of themselves with other state providers and do all they can to spin or misrepresent a clear and simple analysis.
In today’s energy world there are more renewable energy options, including creating our own or even shopping for other providers that can guarantee lower energy rates.
TVA has enjoyed being a quasi-government/federal agency with little competition and a cash abundance for decades. This, combined with the poorest form of management, is a political appointees system that has enabled them to grow their expenses to a level of blatant mismanagement.
It is mismanagement to a level that some feel their lack of concern for our state is gone. This political appointee board allowed the closure of the Muhlenberg County plant, displacing more than 100 families and removing a huge coal customer. They raked in millions and neglected keeping this plant operational for the men and women working there. Senator Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump both spoke out and tried to encourage the board to keep the plant open.
A recent salary detail provided by www.salary.com showed the top executive for this quasi-government agency receiving over $6.8 million in fiscal year of 2018 and another four individuals cashing in at around $2 million each in the same year. Our excessive rates are creating government multi-millionaires while forcing our local residents to sit inside their homes with extreme heat. The agency was created to help alleviate those types of conditions decades ago.
Seeing the trend building, TVA has reached out to their local power company customers and began pitching a deal, a deal never discussed with the press or the public and from what the GEPB attorney Ronnie Hampton indicates hasn’t even been finalized yet. Hampton reached out to TVA because of the vague wording and was told it would be November before the agreement details are finalized. Yet, Board Chairman Tag Taylor, long time board member Jeff Harned and Superintendent Billy Ray pushed to vote in favor immediately.
All we really know at this time is that GEPB is being asked to lock Glasgow into a 20-year rolling contract in exchange for a 3.1% credit. The 20-year rolling agreement would remove our citizens from using their vote at the ballot box in electing officials willing to stand up for them.
This is a great deal for a mismanaged operation like TVA and individuals fighting to maintain Ray’s tumultuous legacy, but not the customers and future employees of EPB.
If Tag Taylor, a local CPA, Jeff Harned, a local Realtor, and the career government employee Billy Ray can push this through, then the attempts being made by the current Mayor and the majority of the Glasgow council will be stopped in their path. This is and has been their goal since before Mayor Harold Armstrong was elected.
Armstrong and several council members campaigned on fixing the terribly high rates now being realized because of Ray’s peak demand billing system will have the best and most viable negotiating option taken off the table for a minimum of 20-years.
Those in our community that are hopeful of putting this issue behind us and establishing one that will not only protect the families and businesses of EPB, but the families of the employees on staff have been forced to play a waiting game for several years as little of any substance has been done to help the most needy among us: the lower income, elderly, small businesses, and disabled. It seems Taylor feels this segment of our community getting help is as unrealistic as him owning a Ferrari.
I disagree. With strong leadership, EPB customers and Taylor could very well someday obtain their dreams.
Jeff Jobe is founder and CEO of Jobe Publishing, Inc. His commentary reflects his personal views and does not reflect the views of personal or professional associations and affiliations. Reach him at email@example.com. Read his previously published commentary at sckentucky.com