TVA to cut spending, employees under Trump budget plan

The Tennessee Valley Authority’s preliminary budget plan for fiscal 2018, unveiled Tuesday by the Trump White House,  projects the agency will trim its capital spending next year by $677 million, cut its operating expenses by $263 million and trim its staff by another 316 employees compared with the current year.

Further from the Times Free Press:

“We have committed in our spending plan for next year to hold our operations and maintenance spending flat, meaning that we will offset the rate of inflation with productivity gains and other changes,” TVA Chief Financial Officer John Thomas said Tuesday. “This will mean we continue to make some staff reductions, but we have already achieved most of these targets.”

TVA has cut its staff by more than 2,000 employees over the past three years, reducing its current staff to about 10,300 employees as part of a three-year budget-cutting plan to reduce annual operating expenses by more than $600 million. TVA is exceeding its target of cutting its total debt by $22 billion by 2023, a goal the TVA board adopted three years ago. At the same time, TVA has increased its base rates less than the inflation rate in each of the past three years.

TVA’s pension plan remains underfunded by about $6 billion, but Thomas said investment income and fewer employees in the retirement system this year should help to improve the pension’s financial standing this year and help TVA meet its long-term goal to restore the pension to full funding.

The completion of America’s newest nuclear reactor at Watts Bar Unit 2 near Spring City, Tenn., last fall should save TVA about $100 million a year in fuel expenses in fiscal 2018, Thomas said.

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