TVA’s Johnson Talks Trump, Coal, Nuclear Energy and the Future

Source: | January 20, 2017

The cost of energy, a look at the benefits of nuclear power and just what exactly would he say if given the chance to sit down with President Donald Trump.

Those are just a handful of the issues to be addressed during Sunday’s edition of “Inside Tennessee” on WBIR 10News with special guest Bill Johnson, the President and CEO of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

In addition, Johnson discusses coal plants and privatizing the TVA.

“I do think the idea that we’re going to bring back the coal plants we’ve closed is not a good idea,” he said. “We’ve almost finished replacement plants – the gas plants we’ve built. We really closed those plants because they were 60, 65-years old and the need to spend a $1 billion to retrofit them versus the need to build a new plant – so I really don’t think it’s going to make much difference to us.”

Johnson noted that each new president also revisits a plan to privatize the operation, but said he’s studied the idea over the years and feels it would be hard to replicate what the TVA does and that such a move would lead to increased rates.

But, he added: “Our job is not to defend the existence of TVA. TVA is owned by the people, the representatives of the people decide what to do with it.”

The TVA has 9 million customers across seven states with the bulk of them in Tennessee. It bills itself as a corporate agency of the U.S. and employs 10,000 people who run eight fossil plants, three nuclear plants, 29 hydro plans, 14 energy sites and one wind energy site.

Trump in the next year will more than likely have the opportunity to appoint up to five new directors on the TVA’s 9-member board.

The 30-minute political and public affairs program, which was taped Thursday, kicks off at 9:30 a.m. Sunday on WBIR.

Panelists include WBIR reporter Mike Donila, attorney Don Bosch and governmental relations specialist Mike Cohen.

WBIR Anchor John Becker serves as the show’s moderator.