TVA revenue down on warm winter, higher expenses

Associated Press Modified: May 4, 2012 at 3:30 pm •  Published: May 4, 2012
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ATLANTA (AP) — The Tennessee Valley Authority announced Friday that it lost $94 million in the last quarter as electricity sales slumped during an unusually warm winter and it faces an over-budget project to finish building a nuclear reactor in Tennessee.

TVA officials said they would seek to cut fewer than 1,000 positions in an effort to trim spending.

The electric supplier brought in nearly $2.6 billion in revenue during the three-month period ending in March, a drop of more than 12 percent compared to the same period last year, according to federal filings. Power sales were down about 7 percent for the quarter.

The electric supplier blamed the bulk of those losses on an unusually warm winter, which cut both the demand for electricity and the prices that TVA can charge for it. TVA officials stood by the board's recent decision to approve adding $1.5 billion to $2 billion to the estimated cost of building a second nuclear reactor at its Watts Bar power plant in Spring City, Tenn. That brings the final cost of the project to as much as $4.5 billion.

"While we still believe that will be a low-cost option and help balance our portfolio for our fleet, the increased spending on that certainly is a hard spot," said John Thomas, the TVA's chief financial officer, in a conference call with reporters and analysts.

Seeking to trim its expenses, Thomas said the TVA anticipates it will spend roughly half a billion less on capital projects. One example is the TVA's decision to scale back funding for engineering work to complete the Bellefonte nuclear plant in Hollywood, Ala. TVA earlier decided it would not start construction on Bellefonte until the Watts Bar project is complete.