Group wants probe of TVA's jets, luxury helicopter

Friday, February 9, 2018, Vol. 42, No. 6

NASHVILLE (AP) — A clean-energy advocacy group wants an investigation after the Tennessee Valley Authority bought two corporate jets, a Mercedes-Benz helicopter and another plane.

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy says the 2015 and 2017 model jets, the used 2013 model Style helicopter and 2015 turboprop were worth $40 million when new.

TVA deemed the equipment necessary to meet customers and pursue economic development.

Alliance executive director Stephen Smith says buying extravagant aircraft defies TVA's purpose to protect residential ratepayers. The group didn't specify who should investigate, but called for oversight from TVA's inspector general and Congress.

TVA spokesman Jim Hopson says private aircraft are the only safe, timely option across TVA's 80,000-square-mile, seven-state service area, which largely lacks commercial flights.