KNOXVILLE (AP) - The Tennessee Valley Authority's current efforts to trim costs and payroll are nothing like the 1980s when then-Chairman Marvin Runyon laid off thousands, TVA director Bill Baxter said Wednesday.
Runyon became known as "Carvin' Marvin" for starting a succession of job cuts that reduced TVA's work force from about 34,000 to 13,245 employees today.
TVA, the nation's largest public utility, on Monday extended early retirement incentives to further reduce its numbers.
The agency said it needs to cut costs to reduce its $25 billion to $26 billion debt by up to $5 billion during the next decade and prepare for electric utility deregulation.
TVA officials refuse to say how many employees they want to leave voluntarily or face layoffs.
It is clear many employees will be exempt, including most of the workers directly involved in operating TVA's three nuclear plants, 11 coal-fired power plants and 17,000-mile transmission system. That could be as many as 10,000 workers - a core group under TVA president and chief operating officer Ike Zeringue.
TVA's average employee is 46.4 years old and has at least 17 years of experience. Baxter said 35 percent of them are within five years of retiring.