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TVA Today:
Daily news for employees

Friday, October 3, 2003

Springfield Department of Electricity Joins Green Power Switch Program

The Springfield (Tenn.) Department of Electricity has become the 65th distributor to join TVA’s Green Power Switch renewable-energy program, giving Springfield’s more than 7,000 customers the option to purchase green power.

“Springfield’s customers now have the option to buy renewable energy and make an investment in the environment for future generations,” says Springfield Electric Utility Director Robert Gardner.

TVA generates green power from 15 solar sites throughout the TVA service area, one wind park in East Tennessee, and methane gas at the Memphis Wastewater Treatment Facility. Local power companies then offer it to their residential, business and industrial customers.

“More than 7,100 residential customers and 355 business customers are purchasing about 22,600 blocks of green power throughout the Tennessee Valley,” says Gary Harris, TVA’s Green Power Switch Program Manager. “Now Springfield’s customers will have a choice in the electricity they buy.”

Green Power Switch is sold to residential consumers in 150-kilowatt-hour blocks (about 12 percent of a typical household’s monthly energy use.) Consumers may buy as many blocks as they like, with each block adding $4 to the customer’s monthly power bills. Business and industrial customers buy blocks based on the amount of energy they use.

Click here for more information about Green Power Switch.

Employees, Retirees Asked To Be Alert to Healthcare Fraud

The National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association, with input from government and law-enforcement agencies, estimates that money wasted on fraudulent medical schemes could be as high as 3-10 percent of the amount spent nationally for healthcare.

TVA’s Office of the Inspector General, which investigates healthcare fraud, reminds all benefits-covered employees and retirees that they can help reduce healthcare costs by being alert to potential medical scams. TVA’s OIG and other groups around the nation have uncovered such fraud schemes as billing for services not rendered, inflating the cost of provided services, and deliberately performing medically unnecessary services.

“As an example of the extent to which some providers will go to perpetrate fraud, one of TVA’s health-benefits plan administrators recently alerted us about a rent-a-patient scheme,” says Richard Moore, TVA Inspector General. “Details of this scam were first made public in the western United States, and we suspect it may be a nationwide scheme.”

Here is how that scam works:

  • Patients involved in the scam undergo unnecessary medical procedures in return for cash payments from paid middlemen who recruit the patients.
  • The clinics bill health-insurance carriers for thousands of dollars more per procedure than would have been considered reasonable by any criteria. According to the Phoenix New Times, patients received up to $800 and the recruiters $2,000 for each procedure.

Employees or retirees who are aware of or suspect potential healthcare fraud affecting TVA and its healthcare beneficiaries should call the OIG 24-hour hotline at 1-800-323-3835 (toll-free) or 865-632-3550 (Knoxville). More information about providing information to the OIG hotline is available on the OIG Web site at

Knoxville Tech Society Meeting Monday

The Technical Society of Knoxville will have a luncheon meeting at 11:30 a.m. Monday, Oct. 6, at the Radisson Summit Hill in Knoxville.

Ron Edmond, a Senior Technical Specialist at the Oak Ridge Institute for Science & Education, will speak on “Preparing America: A Proactive Approach for Crisis Response.”

Guests are welcome. Lunch is optional and is available to members and guests for $10, which includes free parking at the hotel.

For more information, call Peter Scheffler at 632-8040 or Phil Dodson at 632-6535.

Chattanooga Engineers Club Meeting Monday

The Chattanooga Engineers Club will meet at noon Monday, Oct. 6, at the Read House in downtown Chattanooga.

Gen. George Fisher, National Security Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, will speak on “The Soldier of the Future.” Fisher says soldiers of tomorrow will be equipped with an array of high-tech devices designed to improve a soldier’s combat capabilities and chances of survival.

One such device will be lightweight body armor that can monitor heart rate, body temperature and respiration, using the information to attend wounds. For example, the armor’s fibers will be able to block out chemical agents or stiffen to form a splint or cast for a broken bone. Fisher will discuss these and other devices ORNL is helping develop.

A buffet lunch for $10 will be available for attendees beginning at 11:30 a.m. Free parking (for those who leave a notice on their dash indicating they are with the Chattanooga Engineers Club) is available for attendees at the Day’s Inn on Carter Street.

Click here for a map to the Read House.

Reservations are not required, and guests are welcome. For more information, call Richard Smith at 751-7024 or Brad Baucom at 648-3582.

Medic Blood Drive Tuesday in Knoxville

Medic will conduct a blood drive from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7, in the Knoxville Office Complex under the skylight on the Concourse level.

Medic says it currently has an urgent need for all blood types.

Donors and their IRS dependents will be exempt from paying blood-supplier processing fees for one year at any U.S. hospital. Donors will need to provide identification, such as their TVA photo ID. No fasting is necessary. All donors will receive a free T-shirt and free cholesterol test.

For more information about Medic membership and donating blood, Knoxville-area employees can call Medic at 524-3074, visit Medic’s Web page at or speak with a Medic representative at the blood drive.

IEEE Meeting Tuesday in Chattanooga

The Chattanooga Section of the Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers Society will meet at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7, in Room 3S 800 in the Lookout Place Building.

Jim Davidson, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Vanderbilt University, will be the speaker. He will discuss some of the university’s diamond-based research programs for advanced solid-state and vacuum microelectronics, microsensors, electric-power devices, microactuators and microelectromechanical cooling systems.

Davidson says high-energy gas-chemistry research in the 1960s led to the discovery that a diamond can be layered onto a substrate by applying intense and precisely directed forces of heat, pressure and microwaves, thereby making a plasma of hydrogen mixed with a carbon-bearing gas, such as methane. This chemical-vapor-deposition (or CVD) process of layering diamonds became more feasible in the 1980s as equipment to apply thin diamond films over an area larger than a square foot was refined.

Guests are welcome. Pizza and soft drinks will be available for $5. Those planning to eat should call Mike Ingram (751-7799) before 9 a.m. Tuesday. For more information, call Ingram or e-mail him via Outlook or visit the IEEE Web site at

Calendar of Upcoming Events

Saturday, Oct. 4

· Tennessee River Rescue, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Chattanooga area. TVA's Chickamauga-Nickajack Watershed Team is helping recruit volunteers for this annual effort to clean up area streams and shorelines around Chickamauga and Nickajack reservoirs. Contact: Evan Crews, 423-876-4095.

Monday, Oct. 6

· Downtown Speaker’s Connection meeting (a Toastmasters club), 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m., WT 9D-225, Knoxville. Contact: Greg Strach, 632-6953.

· Local 765 International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers meeting, 7 p.m., at the usual location in Sheffield, Ala.

Tuesday, Oct. 7

· Chattermasters meeting (a Toastmasters club), 11:45 a.m., Missionary Ridge (MR 1 N403), Chattanooga. Club purpose: To develop skills and confidence in public speaking. Contact: Marie Colson, 751-2098; Chattermasters Web site:

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