December 2008


Lighting the holidays

Employees work 24/7 to keep the (holiday) lights on

It’s a well-known fact that Santa and Rudolph rely on lights for navigation.


From left, Tina Stanfield, John Williams, Rhett Harrison, Erik Thurston, Lana Bean and Charles Parkins are among the many employees who will work on the holidays.

That’s one reason Gallatin Fossil Plant Shift Operations Supervisor Rhett Harrison and Unit Operators Erik Thurston and John Williams – like so many others in plants across the system – don’t mind working Christmas Eve.

“We’ve got to keep the lights on,” says Harrison. “I’ve visited my family and friends already, and they know I’m not going to be there for Christmas.” His wife will travel to Mississippi to deliver their gifts to family members.

Though they’re not generating power, TVA’s telephone operators, located in Monteagle Place in the Chattanooga Office Complex, nonetheless need to cover the phones.

‘We have four annual and five contract employees,” says Lead Operator Tina Stanfield. “We work three shifts.

“Usually we don’t have a problem. The second and third shift operators, who are annual employees, plan their holiday celebrations so they can come in for their regular shifts, so they rarely ask for time off. And one of our contract employees who worked Thanksgiving has volunteered to work Christmas Day.

“The holidays are usually pretty slow, but we’re here if anything comes up.”

For those in the River Forecast Center, Christmas means watching the water flow whether it is raining or not. This year Civil Engineers Lana Bean and Chuck Parkins are among several River Operations employees who will be staffing the Center both Christmas and New Year’s Day. It was the luck (or not) of the rotation that brings them to the Center on both holidays.

“We are here 24/7 so we can respond immediately if there is an unexpected change in the power system or a navigation or other river system emergency,” says Bean.