With little fanfare, the board of the Tennessee Valley Authority handed new powers to its incoming CEO today. The group didn’t have much choice.
TVA’s board is supposed to have nine members; it’s already short three. Two more will go when Congress adjourns, leaving the board without enough members to do business. Ralph Rodgers is TVA’s general counsel.
“TVA bylaws do provide substantial authority to the CEO, and the board members acting without quorum when necessary, to take those actions necessary to continue continuity of operations.”
New CEO Bill Johnson will have a greater say in a couple of key areas. Most importantly, Johnson can extend TVA’s funding in case there aren’t enough board members in place when it’s time to pass a budget.
That’s a real possibility. President Obama has recommended appointments to TVA’s board, but their nominations have been tied up in the Senate. Both of Tennessee’s Republican Senators have reservations. Lamar Alexander says the president never consulted him before choosing nominees. Bob Corker says the proposed members have little business experience.
TVA’s board is scheduled to meet again in February. Unless Congress takes action, only four members will be present.
TVA’s board also voted today to give special electric rates to a small industrial customer. In a statement, TVA says the company is in a “unique competitive situation” involving two power companies. The item passed unanimously and with little discussion.