TVA Offers Early Retirement Packages
By ELIZABETH A. DAVIS
The Associated Press
Tuesday, February 24, 2004; 2:51 AM
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Valley Authority, the nation's largest public utility, has offered voluntary early retirement and buyout packages to employees as part of efforts to cut its debt.
Employees in departments where TVA has found surplus staffing were asked to volunteer for retirement. Executives said Monday they didn't know how many employees were offered the option, and they didn't offer a target for the number of positions they hope to eliminate.
But if enough volunteers don't come forward, TVA will announce mandatory retirements and layoffs April 22, officials said. The agency has 13,245 employees - down from about 34,000 in the 1980s.
TVA aims to cut payroll and other costs to help prepare for eventual industry deregulation. TVA hopes to trim its $25 billion to $26 billion debt by $3 billion to $5 billion in a decade.
"Reductions in force - if they are appropriate - are only a part of this," TVA Chairman Glenn McCullough said. "This is difficult but it's a necessary step ... to ensure that TVA remains strong for the future."
TVA officials also said Monday they have identified $247 million in cuts to capital costs in 2005. Additional savings also have been found in operating and maintenance and support service costs, and department reviews are ongoing.
People whose jobs are critical to TVA operations, such as generation and transmission, would not be urged to leave, TVA officials said.
Employees have until March 15 to decide whether to leave, and managers have until March 29 to approve requests. May 28 is the termination date for employees taking voluntary retirement.
Employees who are approved for early retirement and have worked at TVA for five or more years will receive severance benefits that include five days' pay for each full year of employment and extended medical insurance coverage.
The Knoxville-based agency supplies electricity to 8.3 million consumers in Tennessee and parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky, Virginia and North Carolina.
On the Net:
Tennessee Valley Authority: http://www.tva.gov
© 2004 The Associated Press