Our Response to COVID-19

Message from Jeff Lyash, TVA President & CEO

April 20, 2020

Life has changed and we’ve adapted. Life hasn’t stopped and neither can TVA. We have a unique responsibility to power and preserve daily life.

We talk about serving 10 million people across the Valley, which we do reliably. We talk about electricity being part of everyday living, which it is. But sometimes we overlook the critical ways people are relying on the energy we provide during these times.

  • Medical professionals on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle who are using equipment powered to save lives.
  • Emergency responders who are restoring areas hit by recent storms, working to return the services that are necessary for normal life.
  • Families sitting down together to a home-cooked meal and face-to-face conversations.
  • Countless phone calls, video chats and social media gatherings that people are using to stay connected to those they love.
  • Parents searching out online education resources to keep their kids learning.
  • Families being able to order online necessary supplies while maintaining the physical distancing necessary for their health and safety.

We are all counting on these things in our personal lives. TVA’s employees are keenly aware of that, too. Our families live and work in the Tennessee Valley. We are counting on every one of our teammates – many still in our plants and facilities, and others working at home – all jointly committed to keeping the lights on and the rivers flowing under never-before-seen conditions.

This area has seen its share of hardships in the past. It has bred generations of resilient, resourceful people capable of overcoming any challenge through hard work, determination and a unique sense of community.

TVA is proud to be part of this community, and we feel the weight of its needs today, more than ever. Like the people we serve, we have the heart, the soul and the broad shoulders to help lift the Valley out of these challenge times. And we will do so…together.

Jeff Lyash
President & CEO


 

MAY 22, 2020

What is Impacted

  • Restroom facilities, large-group pavilions and playgrounds at TVA’s developed recreation areas are closed
  • TVA visitors’ centers at dam reservations remain closed
  • Non-mission critical visitors to TVA facilities are prohibited (business-related delivery personnel are permitted)
  • TVA personnel in administrative and support roles are working remotely and non-mission-critical travel is restricted.
  • Some TVA operational facilities are supported by reduced staff but additional employees remain available for urgent needs

What is NOT Impacted

  • Reliable electricity
  • River management, flood control and navigation
  • Select special project work, including the Boone Dam repair and projects with regulatory deadlines
  • General access to the majority of TVA’s developed recreation areas, TVA trails and undeveloped lands, with the exception of the following locations that remain closed for non-COVID-19-related repairs and maintenance:
    - Kentucky Dam West Bank Road (walk-in access to fishing areas is still permitted)
    - Pickwick (boat ramp and one campground loop are open)
    - Raccoon Mountain
    - Tellico
    - Wilson Dam Rockpile Recreation Area (boat ramp is open)
  • Managed campgrounds at TVA’s Cherokee, Douglas (headwater and tailwater), Melton Hill, Pickwick and Watauga Dam reservations
  • TVA lakes remain open
  • Scheduled recreational flows on the Ocoee River to support commercial whitewater rafting and kayaking

We encourage all visitors to TVA public lands and water to continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 public health guidelines for physical distancing and cloth mask use.


TVA Reopens Most Recreation Areas, Dam Reservation Campgrounds

May 14, 2020

The majority of Tennessee Valley Authority developed recreation areas and six dam reservation campgrounds will re-open by the end of the day on Friday, May 15. The areas were closed in March as part of the overall federal and state response to slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Seventeen TVA recreation areas are re-opening, while the Pickwick recreation area is only partially re-opening due to ongoing repair work from spring flooding. Four additional recreation areas will remain closed due to maintenance and repair activities unrelated to COVID-19: Kentucky Dam West Bank Road (walk-in access to fishing areas is permitted), Raccoon Mountain, Tellico and the Wilson Dam Rockpile Recreation Area.

Consistent with current federal and state guidance, restroom facilities, large-group pavilions and playgrounds will remain closed in the re-opened recreation areas. In addition, all TVA visitors’ centers remain closed.

Visitors are requested to continue to follow physical distancing and other public health guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention while at TVA’s recreation areas.

Managed campgrounds at TVA’s Cherokee, Douglas (headwater and tailwater), Melton Hill, Pickwick and Watauga dams will open for the season on May 15. Recreation Resource Management is responsible for operating these facilities and additional information is available on TVA’s campground website.

In coordination with the state of Tennessee and the U.S. Forest Service, TVA is also resuming some recreational releases on the Ocoee River to support commercial whitewater rafting and kayaking.


What we are doing to help protect employees and supplemental workers

April 6, 2020

Because they are the ones who provide essential services that nearly 10 million people count on every day, our overriding priority is the health and safety of our employees during the COVID-19 outbreak. We’ve been phasing in new actions over the past few weeks as the situation has evolved. As of April 6, some of these actions include:

  • Ensuring that employees report the first sign of potential symptoms and then stay at home
  • Providing trained medical professionals to answer questions and track any potentially ill team members
  • Moving all support and administrative personnel to remote work, which increases physical distancing for those who must be on-station in operations facilities
  • Preventing all business travel except for mission-critical activities and strongly discouraging unnecessary personal travel
  • Limiting access to our facilities by not permitting visitors and restricting critical area access to only essential personnel
  • Implementing medical screening for employees reporting for duty, and providing enhanced off-site medical screening for supplemental outage personnel before they report to their work location
  • Increasing the frequency of cleaning with CDC-recommended techniques and with the appropriate personal protective equipment
  • Minimizing face-to-face meetings to the limit possible without compromising safe work practices
  • Restructuring outage and routine activities to delay non-critical work and increase physical distancing where possible

We continue to closely monitor the situation and follow both federal and state guidance for safe work behaviors. We stand ready to implement additional actions, as needed, to ensure the health of our team members.


Employee health & safety

April 2, 2020

As we continue to closely monitor the situation with COVID-19, a TVA employee has tested positive for the virus and is now recovering. Following TVA policy, the employee reported potential symptoms in mid-March and, based on medical advice, immediately self-isolated. We wish our teammate a speedy and full recovery.

Based on the employee’s rapid reporting and TVA’s effective response, additional exposure to other TVA employees and facilities was limited. Employees in the closest contact to the impacted individual were automatically placed in self-isolation when the initial symptoms were first reported. TVA facilities are being cleaned on a frequent basis as a preventative action. Many TVA employees have moved to remote work to provide further physical distancing with those team members who must still staff our operation facilities to maintain reliable power supplies.

Our overriding priority remains the health and safety of our employees and the public as we also carry out our unique responsibility to maintain vital services that include energy generation and transmission and river management. We continue to coordinate with local power companies and other responding agencies, and we are focused on efforts to help slow the spread of disease while preventing any major impacts to the vital services we provide.


TVA Launches Initiative to Strengthen Public Power COVID-19 Response

March 26, 2020

The Tennessee Valley Authority announced Thursday an initiative to support increased flexibility for local power companies who are responding to urgent community and customer needs during the ongoing response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

TVA will make up to a total of $1 billion of credit support available as an option to local power companies through the deferral of wholesale power payments based on the needs of individual local power companies.

“The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the communities we serve is unprecedented and creates a degree of economic uncertainty in the weeks and months ahead,” said TVA President and CEO Jeff Lyash.

“We recognize that we have a responsibility to leverage TVA’s resources and expertise to provide local power companies the stability and flexibility to address the unique challenges faced by their customers.”

Detailed plans will be customized for each participating local power company based on individual needs and financial impacts. A portion of the local power company’s monthly TVA wholesale power payments would be deferred for a period during the ongoing COVID-19 response and an appropriate repayment plan will be put in place.

The new initiative builds on actions TVA has already taken to provide regulatory flexibility to allow local power companies to halt disconnection of electric service and respond quickly to their customers’ immediate needs.

“The strength of public power is a passionate commitment to serve people over balance sheets,” said Lyash. “This is perhaps more critical today than it has ever been.”

“Just as they have through February flooding and March storm recovery, our TVA team remains committed to working with all 154 of our local power company partners to benefit the communities and customers we jointly serve, especially during these challenging times.” 

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving nearly 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system, and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.


TVA Maintains Focus on Providing Reliable Critical Services

March 16, 2020

As part of its continuing response to the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, Tennessee Valley Authority employees working in certain support and administrative functions will begin using telework processes beginning on Wednesday, March 18.

Specific decisions on telework are being made by individual working group leaders. TVA’s office complexes remain open and all power generation, transmission and river operation facilities remain appropriately staffed, although visitors continue to be restricted.

This latest action is a continuation of a phased response plan designed to increase social distancing to protect employee health while maintaining a focus on reliably providing vital services to nearly 10 million people across the Valley.

Like all utilities, TVA maintains detailed plans preparing for situations, whether natural or man-made, that may challenge its ability to fulfill its mission. The plans prioritize making informed decisions that protect employees and the public while minimizing any impacts on operations.

Previously, TVA had announced the closure of visitor centers and postponed the opening of managed campgrounds near Cherokee, Douglas, Melton Hill and Watauga dams. International and non-mission critical domestic business travel for TVA employees has been restricted, as has non-critical meetings of more than 10 people. Public meetings and outreach activities led or supported by TVA personnel have been postponed for at least the next 30 days.

TVA leaders continue to monitor the evolving outbreak, as well as coordinate with federal agencies and local power companies, and are prepared to take additional actions, as needed, to ensure the health and safety of the employees and the public.


Message from Jeff Lyash, TVA President & CEO

March 13, 2020

Our world is challenged with an issue of wide-ranging scale and human impact. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. At TVA, there is no higher priority than the health and well-being of our employees and the welfare of the nearly 10 million people we serve.

We understand the important role TVA plays in the safety, comfort and convenience of everyone in our service area. We plan and prepare for scenarios like this. Over the past several weeks, we have been making informed decisions to ensure we can protect our employees and minimize any impacts on the vital services we provide. 

I have never been prouder of how our team members have stepped up to their commitment to our unique and compelling mission. Through their hard work and coordination with our public power partners in local power companies, we are confident we can maintain a reliable flow of electricity to homes and businesses across the Tennessee Valley through this difficult time.

I urge everyone to remain vigilant and continue to take the necessary preventative steps recommended by health agencies to keep you and your family safe. Together, we will get through this challenge, as we have so many in the past. 

Jeff Lyash
President & CEO


Frequently Asked Questions

Reliable Energy

Q. What is TVA doing during the pandemic?
A. Our priority is protecting employee and public health as we continue to provide reliable energy and other critical services to the region. We have implemented and are following our agency response plan and staying in touch with the CDC, other federal and state agencies, and local power companies and communities to ensure coordination.

Q. Will my power stay on during this period?
A. Yes, TVA employees are working hard to keep energy flowing to the region around the clock. Employees in some jobs are teleworking and others are onsite at locations across the Tennessee Valley to supply energy and manage the Tennessee River system. We have plans in place to ensure those vital missions continue.

Q. Will my power get turned off if I’m unable to pay my bill?
A. In our role as regulator, TVA is working with all 154 local power companies who provide electric power to nearly 10 million people across seven states. We are offering support and flexibility to ensure they are in the best position possible to address local conditions and the concerns of their members and customers. Please reach out directly to your local power company to determine what programs are available that may provide assistance during this difficult time.

Q. Will my bill go up because I’m home all day?
A. The cost of power isn’t changing because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The biggest factor in your energy bill is how much energy you use, and being home more could change your energy use. Raising your thermostat by as little as one or two degrees in warm weather (and lowering it by one or two degrees in the winter) will help keep your bill lower than it would be otherwise. TVA power rates are among the lowest in the nation, and we encourage people to make their homes and businesses as energy efficient as they can, so their bills aren’t higher than necessary. TVA and many local power companies offer programs to help consumers use energy wisely. See www.energyright.com for information and energy-saving tips.

Recreation

Q. Are TVA lakes and recreation areas open?
A. Yes, TVA's lakes remain open and the majority of our developed recreation areas and nearly 290,000 acres of other public lands. However, unique times call for unique measures to protect you, your family and other residents using our facilities. Know that all public restrooms are closed along with playgrounds, visitor centers and large group pavilions, so plan accordingly. Just like other locations, maintain the proper social/physical distancing and avoid any group of 10 or more people.

Five TVA recreation areas remain closed or partially closed due to repair and maintenance activities unrelated to COVID-19:

  • Kentucky Dam West Bank Road (walk-in access to fishing areas is still permitted)
  • Pickwick (boat ramp and one campground loop are open)
  • Raccoon Mountain
  • Tellico
  • Wilson Dam Rockpile Recreation Area (boat ramp is open)

TVA-managed campgrounds at Cherokee, Douglas, Melton Hill, Pickwick (one loop) and Watauga dams are also open. We’ve also restarted scheduled recreational flows on the Ocoee River. All should follow state park rules and guidance regarding COVID-19 precautions.

Q. Can I still go out on TVA public land?
A. Yes! However, we encourage you to maintain the appropriate physical distancing and avoid large groups. Also, follow the guidance provided the Leave No Trace environmental education program.  Remember, all public restrooms are closed along with all beach areas, visitor centers and large group pavilions, so plan accordingly

Q. What do I do about reservations at TVA’s managed campgrounds?
A. If you have reservations after May 15, those are still available and you can contact the campground with any additional questions. If you had reservations for camping prior to May 15, please contact the campground where you have reservations directly. They will be able to assist you with securing a refund or providing instruction regarding rebooking your reservation later in the year. The following is a link to the Recreation Resource Management: https://camprrm.com/parks/, which includes site-specific contact information. If you have further questions please feel free to contact us through our Public Land Information Center at 1-800-882-5263.

Health & Safety

Q. Did TVA have a plan for this type of event?
A. Like all utilities, TVA has extensive plans in place for dealing with any type of event that could interfere with our mission of service. That does include infectious diseases, like COVID-19. Since the beginning of the year, we’ve been carefully monitoring how the COVID-19 outbreak has been developing and adjusting our plans to be ready for this specific issue. We will continue to adapt our plans to be ready for whatever the future may bring us.

Q. What is TVA doing to prevent the spread of coronavirus?
A. Our overriding priority is the health and safety of our employees and the public. We remain focused on efforts to help slow the spread of disease and prevent major impacts to the vital services we provide. We are following CDC recommendations and working to be consistent with local health organization requirements in localized high outbreak areas.

As part of our company-wide response plan, we are taking a number of actions. These include encouraging employees with potential symptoms to stay home, increase physical distancing through telework for administrative and support personnel, restricting access to our facilities and implementing health checks for employees reporting to work, eliminating all but mission-critical travel and discouraging group gatherings through virtual meetings.

We have also closed some of our recreation areas to help slow the spread of the virus.

Q. Are TVA employees still traveling around the Valley?
A. All TVA travel is restricted to critical business functions only, and we are encouraging employees to avoid unnecessary personal travel. We encourage our employees to use phone or video conferencing to meet instead of traveling.

Q. Will any of these practices change if the spread of COVID-19 increases?
A. We are closely following COVID-19 levels, and we will continue to follow the guidance from the CDC and take actions in line with CDC guidelines and our company-wide response plan. This includes necessary precautions to keep our employees and the public safe. Throughout this situation, you have our commitment that we will do everything we can to continue supplying reliable, low-cost energy for the nearly 10 million people we serve, while protecting employee and public health and safety.

Suppliers and Contractors

Q. Will there be a delay if I have a scheduled delivery to make to TVA? Any special requirements for suppliers or contractors?
A. Please see the TVA Coronavirus Update on our Supplier Connection web page for the latest information about Coronavirus impact on suppliers and contractors. If you have a specific question about your particular contract, please contact your TVA contract manager.

Projects

Q. What happens if TVA crews were working on my property?
A. To help protect the health of our own team members, as well as the public, we are delaying work on many non-mission-critical jobs, including right-of-way vegetation maintenance and routine transmission line maintenance and construction. Crews are expected to leave each work area in a safe condition, but full restoration of the property may be delayed until after the current COVID-19 outbreak has eased. We apologize for this inconvenience but will return to finish our work as soon as possible. If you have any questions, please contact the TVA Transmission Right of Way team at rowcustomer@tva.gov or (844) 812-2626.

Q. Is work on the Boone Dam Project continuing?
A. Yes, our project work is continuing at Boone Dam. The safety of our workers and the public continue to be our top priorities. We are keeping workers safe by maintaining social distancing, deep cleaning and practicing good hygiene. Those workers not directly involved in construction are teleworking. As of April 6, about 100 of the 307 pilings that will form the underground cutoff wall are complete and more are under construction.

General

Q. Will TVA still be conducting public comment periods on various issues?
A. Yes, we will continue to use the NEPA process while making decisions, and we count on public input. Draft and Final Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements will continue to be posted on our website. Our public comment process will remain in place as well. We encourage your engagement in this process and appreciate your input. If you have questions about our process, each document on the website includes our contact information.

Q. What are the symptoms associated with COVID-19?
A. Common signs of infection are a combination of fever, dry cough and shortness of breath, according to the CDC. To learn more and stay current with the latest COVID-19 guidance, visit one of these special websites developed by the federal government:

Q. What precautions are recommended to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
A. Recommendations in the CDC guidelines include social distancing, coughing and sneezing etiquette, hand hygiene, routine cleaning of surfaces, and avoiding exposure to those who are ill. To learn more and stay current with the latest COVID-19 guidance, visit one of these special websites developed by the federal government:

How TVA’s Helping

The current Coronavirus outbreak asks the best of us—that we do what we can to make life better in the Tennessee Valley even under these difficult conditions. We’re going above and beyond our commitment to keep the lights on, Here’s how.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has established a landing page on CDC.gov with the latest information from the CDC and the overarching medical community on COVID-19. The page provides information on how COVID-19 spreads, symptoms, prevention and treatment, stigma, what to do if you are sick and frequently asked questions. See https://www.coronavirus.gov.

Energy Saving Tips

Here are some tips to save power and money as these challenging times change how and where we use electricity:

For homeowners

Reduce the strain on your HVAC system – your home’s largest energy user – by adjusting your thermostat to 78°F for cooling, and 68°F for heating.

Lower your water heater temperature. By setting the temperature to 120°F, you reduce the energy needed to heat the water. 

Turn lights and electronics off when not in use. TVs can use up to six times more energy than a light bulb, so turning them off will help you save energy. 

Unplug your electronic devices and chargers when not in use. Many electronics consume energy even when they are switched off – unplugging ensures you are not wasting energy.

Run full loads in the dishwasher and the washing machine whenever possible - the amount of energy used is the same regardless of how full they are. Air dry your clothes and dishes to save even more.

Fire up the grill or use a microwave to cook your food. Conventional ovens use more energy and create excess heat in the kitchen, which can be uncomfortable during warmer weather.

Click here to learn more about how to save energy around your home.

For businesses

Remember to turn off all lights, even those in display cases. If you won’t return for an extended period, you may want to turn off breakers for outdoor lights controlled by photocells (ambient light sensors).

Adjust thermostats to 85°F during warmer months and set fans to “Auto.” It is very important to not turn off the AC, as that can lead to higher humidity inside your facility and mold. If you have specialized equipment and the building will be empty, you can close fresh air dampers to save more energy.

Unplug non-essential equipment. Consider removing all food and defrosting and unplugging refrigerators and freezers.

Close blinds and drapes to reduce cooling expenses.

If you have any leaky faucets, urinals or water closets, shut off the water supply and repair when the facility reopens.

Click here to learn more about how to prepare your business for reduced occupancy or temporary closure during COVID-19.