Congressman Cohen Applauds Energy and Commerce Committee Leaders’ Request for Information from the Tennessee Valley Authority on Ratepayer Costs and Commitment to Addressing Climate Change

January 13, 2022
Press Release
Members Express Concern over High Electric Bills, Underinvestment in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Power, and Inadequate Decarbonization Goals

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a vocal critic of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s relationship with Memphis, its largest customer, today applauded efforts by the Chairs of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and three of its Subcommittees to get answers about the federally chartered company’s ratepayer energy burden and apparent resistance to addressing renewable energy and climate change, an issue he has repeatedly raised.

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Energy Subcommittee Chairman Bobby L. Rush (D-IL), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO), and Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee Chairman Paul Tonko (D-NY) wrote to Jeffrey Lyash, CEO of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), requesting information regarding business practices that appear inconsistent with TVA’s statutory requirement to provide low-cost power to residents of the Tennessee Valley and out of concern that TVA is interfering with the deployment of renewable and distributed energy resources.

“I commend my colleagues for pointing out the high electricity rates paid by Memphians and echo their concerns about the heavy financial burden these rates place on my friends, neighbors and constituents,”
said Congressman Cohen. “I look forward to seeing TVA’s response to the critical issues raised in the letter.”

The letter reads in part:

“TVA lauds its commitment to low rates, but as of 2020, ratepayers in much of TVA’s service territory have electric utility bills that exceed the national average. According to at least one analysis, hundreds of thousands of low-income households in Tennessee face an elevated energy burden, with some spending as much as 27 percent of their annual income on energy, while low-income residents of cities such as Memphis historically face some of the highest energy burdens in the nation. The Committee seeks to understand the extent to which the disparity between TVA’s low rates and its high customer bills is driven by the organization’s decision to deprioritize energy efficiency and impose fixed fees that keep rates low but cost ratepayers money.”

See the entire letter here.

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