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What TVA Does

Have you ever wondered what TVA does? The answer is: many different things.

photo of tva headquarters
TVA headquarters in Knoxville, Tennessee

TVA is the largest public power company in the United States. It’s called “public” because it’s owned by the U.S. government, unlike most companies that are owned by individual people or investors. Through its many plants that make electricity, TVA supplies power to about 9 million people in the southeastern United States.

In addition to producing power for many Americans, TVA also manages the nation’s fifth-largest river system. The Tennessee River flows 652 miles from east Tennessee down into Alabama and back up into Kentucky, where it joins the Ohio River. All along the Tennessee River, TVA employees work to reduce the dangers of flooding, make it possible for boats to travel safely, and keep the water clean.

In the 41,000-square-mile area drained by the Tennessee River, TVA also operates some of the country’s best outdoor recreation areas. Although TVA was first set up in 1933 as an agency supported by Americans’ tax dollars, today it runs all of its programs and pays its employees with the money it earns by making and selling electricity.

So, the next time you turn on a computer, drink from the school water fountain or go fishing on a TVA reservoir, you will know what part TVA plays in helping everybody in the Valley lead a better life.

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