Doing Business With Tennessee Valley Authority

General Info on TVA<@VM>The CIO File: Diane Bunch

Number Crunching

Operating revenue: $5.1 billion*

Operating expenses: $3.9 billion*

Operating income: $1.1 billion*

* For the nine months ended June 30.

The federal government doesn't fund TVA activities. All its programs are paid for through power revenues, which total more than $7 billion a year. Quarterly reports and other financial information are at

Things to note

The TVA Web site is a fountain of information. It's well organized and explicit in its detail of what the agency does, who does it, where, etc. I didn't find information here about contracting opportunities (TVA is listed on FedBizOpps), but I found plenty of useful information that a contractor can use in pursuing work and knowing what the agency is all about. Definitely check it out.

A board of directors, consisting of three members who serve nine-year terms, runs TVA. They are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The president chooses which board member serves as chairman. The board presides over a 17-member executive committee.

TVA has an interesting take on the use of IT in the government. Former Chairman Craven Crowell once said that in the information revolution, the road to prosperity is lined with microchips. The future hinges on IT, which in turn hinges on electricity. Electricity, according to the agency, is the backbone of an information-based economy. Makes sense to me.

TVA customers pay an average of 6.4 cents per kilowatt-hour, or the amount of electricity it takes to burn 10 100-watt light bulbs for one hour. The national average is 8.5 cents.

Back-to-school lesson: TVA was created by President Franklin Roosevelt as part of his New Deal, which used the resources of the federal government to create employment opportunities for citizens during the Great Depression. Building dams on the Tennessee River and its tributaries provided jobs for thousands, and the resulting electric power drew new industries into the region, also offering employment. Congress passed the TVA Act May 18, 1933.

Tennessee Valley Authority

400 W. Summit Hill Drive

Knoxville, Tenn. 37902

(865) 632-2101

Founded: May 18, 1933

Chairman: Glenn McCullough Jr.

Directors: Skila Harris, Bill Baxter


What it does: The Tennessee Valley Authority is a federal corporation. It is the nation's largest public power company, and its fifth largest electric utility. It provides wholesale power to 158 municipal and cooperative distributors, and directly serves 62 large industries and government installations in the valley; it supplies energy to 8.3 million people.

TVA services about 80,000 square miles in the southeastern United States, including almost all of Tennessee and parts of Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. It manages the nation's fifth-largest river system and protects a 41,000-square-mile watershed. TVA takes an integrated management approach to run its 49 dams on the Tennessee River and its tributaries.

Major components: Its main offices are in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Nashville, Tenn., and Muscle Shoals, Ala. There are 15 customer-service centers, seven regional economic development offices, 12 watershed team offices, 11 coal-fired plants, six combustion turbine plants, three nuclear plants, 29 hydroelectric dams and a pumped-storage plant.

Diana Bunch


Full title: Chief information officer

Took the job: June 2000

Hometown: Chattanooga, Tenn.

Home now: Same

Family: "Just me."

Hobbies: "Most any sport: golf, softball, basketball, volleyball and water skiing."

Last book read: "How to Think Like a CEO: The 22 Vital Traits You Need to Be the Person at the Top," by D.A. Benton

Alma mater: Bachelor of science in business administration from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

WT: How does your agency use IT?

Bunch: Information technology is a critical business enabler for all of TVA's business functions ? from the typical business applications to the operational aspects of supporting a diverse energy business consisting of three nuclear plants, 11 fossil [fueled] plants and 29 hydro [powered] plants that serve electricity to more than 8.3 million customers across seven states.

WT: Do you have specific needs that may be considered unique?

Bunch: Compared to a typical IT shop, I think the quality assurance rigor that we are required to support for our nuclear applications is unique.

WT: What technology, if any, has made the agency's mission easier?

Bunch: Several examples come to mind. We have completely automated our supply chain and interfaced it with the work management and asset management used to maintain and operate our plants. This has allowed TVA to reduce inventory, provide material information on a near real-time basis and better plan our work.

A second example would be the automation of human-resource functions through our Employee Self Service system, [including] pay, time reporting, benefits, expense reimbursement, etc.

WT: How have you transformed your paperwork into electronic files? How is it going?

Bunch: Just recently, we converted all the revenue contracts from hard copy to electronic format to reside on our electronic document management system. The latest enhancement to that system is the electronic workflow process, which has reduced the time required for our customer service and marketing organization to process tasks related to customer management.

WT: What do you look for in companies with which you are thinking of doing business?

Bunch: Quality business solutions, superior support and company viability.

WT: What are you looking for techwise for the agency's future?

Bunch: We are in the process of evaluating and implementing enterprise application integration technology as the underlying technology to support a Power Systems Optimization Project.

WT: A year from now, where do you see the agency's technology capabilities?

Bunch: Hopefully more streamlined, standardized and automated as we strive to do more with less.

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