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Calling for National Utility Reform and Elimination of Inflated Fixed Rates, with Special Consideration of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Service Area

WHEREAS, on May 18, 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Tennessee Valley Authority Act (TVA) of 1933 into law (48 Stat. 58-59,16 U.S.C. sec. 831), establishing a federal electric power utility to oversee the construction of dams to control flooding, improve navigation, create affordable electric power in the Tennessee Valley basin, improve the living standards of farmer and support projects that primarily benefit domestic and rural customers; with sales to and use by industry of output by TVA as a secondary concern; and   

WHEREAS, TVA was enacted and is protected by the Congress of the United States of America in congress under the "Tennessee Valley Authority Act of 1933" and under its provisions, the TVA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is mandated to meet a legal requirement to report to Congress on the office's results twice a year through its Semiannual Report to Congress and to file a financial statement in March of each year: and  

 WHEREAS, TVA provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving 9 million people in parts of the seven southeastern states of Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina, that have the highest poverty rates in the nation; and 

WHEREAS, according to a rates study review., released by Synapse Energy Economics, TVA shifted more than $1.4 billion from industry to homeowners and commercial customers from 2011 to 2016, costing the typical homeowner in Chattanooga nearly $14 more a month than what they would have paid without the rate realignment while reducing the rates of large industries by 20 percent; and  

WHEREAS, TVA has allegedly engaged in undisclosed discussions with large Industrial consumers to deliberate lowering their rates, while raising rates for families and small businesses; and has so far failed to provide a Cost of Service study to justify rate changes; and  

WHEREAS, TVA has been raising rates while approving compensation increases, making its CEO the highest-paid federal employee in the country – earning over $8.1 million during FY 2018, his retirement makes him eligible for $12.8M payout, paying huge bonuses to its executives annually, and purchasing nearly $30 million worth of luxury aircrafts; and  

WHEREAS, higher mandatory fees already have a greater disproportionate impact on the utility bill of those who use less energy a group that disproportionately consists of low-income, elderly, African American, Asian, and Hispanic households; and  

 WHEREAS, TVA customers in the City of  Memphis are paying the highest  percentage of their income on electricity more than double the national average, a metric known as "energy burden; leaving low-income Memphians to bear the highest burdens, spending over one quarter of their household's annual income on energy; and   

 WHEREAS, energy cost burden is not just a problem in the states within the TVA area of Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky; but a national problem with at least 25 states of the 50 states in the country shouldering high utility rates, including the far southwestern state of Hawaii, the northern states of Rhode Island, Massachusetts,, Alaska, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Maine, the western state of California; and  

 WHEREAS, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) Report revealed a trend that most minority majority populated cities have disproportionate energy burdens; and that the top ten are Memphis, New Orleans, Birmingham, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Providence, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Detroit and St. Louis; and  

WHEREAS, in the five states with the highest low-income energy burden – Mississippi, South Carolina. Alabama, Georgia, and Arkansas – low income households use 36% more electricity that the low-income national average; and 

 WHEREAS, TVA proposes a new fixed "grid access charge" for the power it sells wholesale to local power companies and local power companies on TVA system; and have already increased mandatory fixed charges for residential customers by over 50% since 2011, in response to past TVA wholesale rate changes; and  

WHEREAS, TVA's "grid access charge", totaling   60 million dollars,  restricts consumer choice and energy freedom and predates its Integrated Resource Plan, which is intended to fairly evaluate renewable energy options; and  

WHEREAS, in many places solar and wind power are the cheapest options, yet TVA already turned down a major deal to get wind for less than the cost of power for burning coal; and  

WHEREAS, without a fair planning process, TVA may miss out on the true lowest cost energy source, leaving customers on a budget in the lurch; and  

WHEREAS, TVA is a self-regulated government sanctioned monopoly, accountable to the federal legislative bodies of government but not accountable to state utility regulators as are investor-owned utilities in neighboring states across the nation. 

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People calls upon Congress of the United States of America and the Trump Administration to consider regulations to curb actions of utilities across the nation, including the Tennessee Valley Authority; and to dismiss any rate structure changes that shift costs from industrial customers to residential customers and to terminate the inflated "grid access charge" and/or any other attempts to increase fixed charges in the sale of electricity. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP calls upon Congress to pass the "Tennessee Valley Authority Transparency Act of 2019," introduced by U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett, which would require meetings of the TVA Board to be held in public, properly noticed, and make available minutes and summaries of each meeting" and further require TVA to be more transparent in its ratemaking methodologies and provide unhindered public access to its Cost of Service study in a timely manner, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), (5 U.S.C. § 552), so that  customers can evaluate the fairness of Its rates. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP calls upon the United States Congress and Administration to require all energy providers, including TVA to end any and all practices of negotiating fees without complete transparency and public inclusion when  determining consumer prices and creating policy, especially as it initiates its  2020 Integrated   Resource Plan process.  

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP requests chat Congress mandate that TVA commits to a more comprehensive energy efficiency programs and renewable energy standards over the next five years, providing for fair remuneration for households and businesses that install small-scale solar and allowing local power companies to contract for additional renewable energy at their discretion. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP urges TVA to realign its method of operation to partnering with the states of its service areas, in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky and small areas of Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia, to develop aggressive energy policies commensurate with the recommendations of the NAACP's Just Energy Policies, to reach the recommended goal of at least 25% renewable energy by 2025; taking into account that Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama are among the worst cited In the report. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP advises TVA to redirect proportionately equivalent Extreme Energy Makeover Program funding to energy efficiency and home weatherization; with special focus on restorative funding for the long-neglected City of Memphis. 

 BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, thatthe NAACP petitions the U.S. Congress, by way of dissemination of this resolution, to immediately engage the U.S. Government Accountability Office in a comprehensive review of TVA's unregulated monopoly, abysmal business approach to servicing Its distressed customers, its continued authority to self-police, and adherence to its original charge of improving the economic and social circumstances; which continue to endanger, rather than improve the disadvantaged population living within the Tennessee River basin.