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T.V.A. To Give Schools, Colleges 10 Percent Credit on Power Bills

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The Tennessee Valley Authority last week announced that it will cut power costs to the 2,500 public-education institutions that the giant utility serves as part of an effort to support education improvement and to spur economic growth.

Beginning May 1, the T.V.A. will give a one-year, 10 percent credit on power bills to all public elementary and secondary schools in the region it covers, which includes Tennessee and parts of North Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, and Virginia.

The credits, which also will be made available to public community colleges and universities, could save public education in the region up to $20 million a year, a spokesman for the federal agency said last week.

The program "will allow public schools to use money that otherwise would be allocated for power bills to invest in other necessities, such as books and buses,'' Marvin Runyon, the T.V.A.'s chairman, said at a news conference.

T.V.A. officials estimate that the savings to public education could pay the salaries of 750 elementary and secondary teachers, based on average salary rates for the seven states it serves through 160 local distributors.

In the Nashville-Davidson County Metropolitan Public Schools in Tennessee, for example, a 10 percent reduction in last year's electric bill would have saved the district $680,000, ô.ö.á. officials said.

The agency also plans, beginning May 1, to provide 5 percent power credits to manufacturing firms that use a minimum of 50 kilowatts of power a year.

All together, the credits for schools and manufacturers could save the region up to $75 million for the year, T.V.A. officials said.

Program Applauded

U.S. Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander lauded the T.V.A. initiative, saying that, "by introducing this program, T.V.A. and its distributors are assuming leadership roles in the support of education that I hope will be replicated by others around the country.''

Mr. Runyon said the T.V.A. volunteered to provide the credits because it is in excellent financial shape.

The T.V.A. has cut its annual interest costs by $184 million and taken numerous other cost-savings measures, he said.

The T.V.A.--which has many of the powers of a corporation, including the ability to use private management principles--operates a $5-billion power program each year and receives money from the Congress for other efforts in the field of resource management.

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