TVIC came together as an informal group in the late 1960s and early 1970s as the result of TVA rate increases. The group was interested in jobs and the economy, an interest that remains to this day. The group was loosely organized through the 1970s. In 1979 TVIC added part-time staff and consultants and began to actively engage TVA in an effort to halt the rise in electric rates. An inflationary economy and the rise in coal prices (TVA generated most of its electricity from coal in those days) had pushed electricity prices ever higher--to the point that several major industries (including aluminum producers and chemical manufacturers) simply ceased operations in the Tennessee Valley.

In the face of these electricity cost issues in the early-to-mid 1980s, TVIC worked closely with TVA to develop electric rates that would help some industries survive, through interruptible rates and the sale of surplus power at very competitive prices.

Some large industrial customers were able to use these innovative products to control electricity costs from the mid-1980s through most of the 1990s. But the precipitous drop in industrial production was extraordinarily steep in the early 1980s, and sales did not reach 1979 levels until 20 years later.

In recent years, TVIC has consistently maintained that TVA industrial electric rates have become uncompetitive with some other regions of the country, and in 2012 released a study demonstrating that fact. As a result, TVA offered its direct-served customers incentives for those willing to make capital improvements and show commitment to keeping their operations in the Tennessee Valley.