A 6 percent jump in electricity sales during the first three quarters of its fiscal year helped the bottom line at the Tennessee Valley Authority, which gave much of the credit to the weather.

TVA, which provides electricity to more than 150 co-ops and municipal systems, saw operating revenues of $8 billion in the first nine months of fiscal 2018, up 5 percent from the same period a year ago. Net income rose from $546 million to $1.2 billion. CEO Bill Johnson told an Aug. 3 conference call that TVA is "on track for favorable results for fiscal year 2018."

"Weather has been an important part of our financial results this year. Our service area experienced warmer-than-normal weather in the third quarter of [fiscal] 2018, and record-setting low temperatures back in January," said Johnson.

"Rainfall and runoff in the Tennessee Valley through the third quarter were both about 115 percent of normal, which helped push hydroelectric generation 26 percent higher so far this year," said Johnson. That extra hydro, along with lower natural gas prices, led TVA to shave $68 million in fuel expenses from a year ago.

In May, TVA's board approved a rate structure change to its wholesale power rates, which takes effect Oct. 1. Johnson called it "another step we've taken to help maintain low and fair rates and financial health over the long term."

"The new structure better aligns rates with fixed costs, which are then more fairly allocated to everyone who benefits from the reliability of the 24/7 energy from our system," he said.

Johnson also addressed a White House proposal, announced in June, to sell TVA's transmission assets, calling it "similar to other divestiture ideas discussed since TVA's creation in 1933."

"Studies conducted on previous proposals have validated that TVA's public power model provides the best value, and does so without any taxpayer funding. And as a result, Congress has never chosen to make the changes in the TVA Act that would be necessary to sell our assets," said Johnson.

"TVA is among the best in our industry in providing bulk transmission service. We've done that with 99.999 percent reliability every year consecutively for at least the past two decades," said Johnson. "Our five 9s level of reliability is important, because the region's economy runs on the electricity TVA and our local power company partners deliver safely, reliably and efficiently every day."

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