Wednesday, March 01, 2006

TVA, Enron and The Spin Game

I haven't seen much state press coverage of the testimony in the trial of Enron executives where cash reserves set aside for payments to TVA got raided to help falsely inflate earnings for Enron. Did TVA get the monies they were owed? TVA has certainly been in the news (and on the editorial pages) in recent days.

With TVA increasing rates nearly 18% in six months, plus getting the approval to alter rates on a new sliding monthly scale then the Public Relations efforts to spin these increases are underway. Voicing concerns about the massive energy company, sadly, is as effective as looking up at the sky and saying "More blue!" or "Fewer clouds!!"

R. Neal at Knox Views has two fine posts that highlight the spin TVA chairman Bill Baxter has sent out to papers in Knoxville and Chattanooga (among others). The first post indicates the wagons are being circled to deflect criticisms of the increases and criticism that the plans for expanding their board include many paybacks for Bush supporters but zero citizen input.

The second post notes that the plans for nominees to a newly expanded board are ... well, dubious at best yet still supported by some for reasons like ... well, as R. Neal says, I'm sure they are good reasons, whatever they are.


  1. "He mentions 'reliable', so he can strike fear into the community by raising the specter of 'brownouts in California and the Northeast' from which TVA is of course protecting you, so you can take comfort in that."

    Which is hilarious since the brownouts and rolling blackouts had nothing to do with the price of energy being too low. Biting off more than Enron could chew plus insatiable greed equaled disaster. But, hey, at least your governor isn't the Prez's little brother. You can be thankful for that.

    Oh! If you haven't read it yet, please check out Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room by McLean and Elkind. I understand they made it into a documentary, which I haven't seen, but the book is the most fascinating thing I have read in years. It goes into detail about exactly how Enron ate itself alive. Good times.

  2. Like Exxon if you have power for sale and everyone needs power then the price is what ever you say it is.

    The friendly power companys should state it clear with this slogan: "Shut your hole and pay it, or starve the choice is yours".

  3. observer9:30 AM

    I think they call it "trickle-down" mismanagement.

    Mismanagement! Yep, TVA just kept passing out lavish bonuses to reward the head honchos who thought fancy office buildings, enormous debt, and obscene bonuses and perks were the way to "manage" a public utility.