TVA board picks Alabama attorney as new chair [The Knoxville News-Sentinel, Tenn. :: ]
(Knoxville News-Sentinel (TN) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Feb. 13--The TVA board has picked Alabama attorney Joe H. Ritch to become its new chairman, effective in May.
Meeting Thursday in Chattanooga, the board unanimously approved Ritch as chairman-elect, to begin a two-year term when current chairman Bill Sansom's term ends May 18.
"He will be the first chairman of TVA from Alabama," Sansom said. "He has been a real leader in Huntsville."
Ritch, who was sworn in as a TVA director in January 2013, is with the Huntsville law firm of Sirote & Permutt. He has also served as chairman of the Tennessee Valley Base Realignment and Closures Committee, co-chaired the Tennessee Valley Growth Coordination Group and has been a board member of the Huntsville Chamber of Commerce. Sansom, who joined the TVA board in 2006, has served three times as chairman.
Also Thursday, the TVA board approved a $160 million contract to replace four steam generators at the Watts Bar Unit I Nuclear Plant. Joseph P. Grimes, TVA chief nuclear officer, told the board that the replacement won't take place for years, but the existing generators are nearing the end of their expected life and designing and manufacturing new generators will take about four years.
"We wanted to make sure we started that process now," he said.
At its November meeting, TVA approved plans to replace two coal-fired units at its Paradise Fossil Plant in Kentucky with a combined-cycle natural gas plant. TVA CEO and President Bill Johnson told the board that this project should be completed by summer, 2017.
"We evaluated different options for Paradise, including combined -- cycle, and we believe that will best meet long-term needs," he said.
The cost is estimated at about $1 billion.
In his report to the board, Johnson noted that TVA had to meet some record levels of electrical demand in January.
"In January, we faced some of the coldest temperatures the region has seen since 1996, and some of the highest power demands," he said.
On Jan. 7, an all-time high in demand for a 24-hour, one-day period was set when TVA customers used 03 gigawatt-hours of electricity. On Jan. 24, customers set a wintertime record by using 33,345 megawatts.
Johnson said this power usage will likely mean higher utility bills for power customers this spring.
In other action, the TVA board approved a contract for nuclear fuel fabrication services for its Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant through 2025. It also recertified the charter for its Regional Resource Stewardship Council, an advisory panel that allows public input on TVA decisions on stewardship of natural resources, water supply and public lands.
The board also singled out TVA employee Casey Scoggins as its Engineer of the Year. Scoggins has managed substation projects, storm restoration projects and leads a team of engineers to help TVA maintain its 99.999 percent power reliability.
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