Prevailing winds

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    Prevailing winds

    By David Callis, executive vice-president, Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association Despite a few high-profile scandals, I like to believe that most corporations abide by the law. Some do so because it’s the right thing to do. Others do so because of existing regulations and laws. Along those lines, how do electric utilities respond when regulatory bodies force operational changes? If federal energy policy enacts changes that alter your strategy, sound business practice demands that you comply. Obeying the law ensures continued operation; doing the opposite invites fines, failure or possibly even incarceration. It’s not an unusual happening in the energy industry. […]

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    Energy savings can be hard. Make it easy.

    Stop. Look around your room. More than likely there is a programmable thermostat on the wall, a plug strip on the floor and a light bulb in your lamp. These are three of the most common products you can use to help reduce daily household energy costs. The trick is figuring out how to make them work for you. With a little savvy consumer shopping and research, choosing and correctly using programmable thermostats, replacement bulbs and plug strips can be easy to do, says Brian Sloboda, a program manager specializing in energy efficiency for the Cooperative Research Network (CRN), the […]

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    My next coffee stop

    By Mike Knotts, director of government affairs, Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association One of the things I love about working for electric cooperatives is the opportunity I get to travel around the state and meet with the employees of your co-op. They are hardworking, dedicated folks who spend every day on the job focused on one thing — keeping the lights on. Whether engineers, billing clerks or accountants, they perform a service we all need, and not unlike the dedicated folks working at the fire station or the police department, they don’t often get a “thank you” for doing it. While […]

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    Grain bins: harvesting safely

    As rewarding as it may be, farming is an extremely difficult job—and it ranks among the top 10 most dangerous professions in the United States. For Tennessee’s electric cooperatives, safety is top priority for all—our employees and our members. Our farmers work hard to get the job done, and sometimes it’s easy to forget all the necessary steps to take when practicing safe operations. Grain bins are siloed spaces built for storing grain and fermented feed known as silage. These bins play an integral role in the efficiency and profitability of farm and ranch operations, and safety regulations should always […]

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    Summer energy efficiency: myth vs. fact

    When it comes to energy efficiency, common misconceptions can cost you big money. Here are a few facts to keep you comfortable and save money this summer. Myth: When I’m not home, keeping my air conditioner at a lower temperature throughout the day means it doesn’t have to run harder to cool my home when I return. Fact: To save energy, set your thermostat to a higher temperature during the day, and lower it when you return home. Myth: Closing vents on my central air conditioning system will boost efficiency. Fact: Closing vents can cause the compressor to cycle too […]

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    Limiting swimming pool heat loss

    When you’re lounging comfortably poolside, energy efficiency is likely to be the least of your worries. But for many homeowners fortunate enough to have these fun backyard spaces in which to swim and splash during the season, the cost of heating their pools and concerns about wasting electricity are summer realities. The energy used to heat a pool is quickly sent to the outside environment if the pool is not properly covered when not in use, and harnessing this “free heat” is important for those early morning swimmers. Pool heaters and energy efficiency To extend their use beyond the summer […]

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    Short start to a long process

    By Mike Knotts, director of government affairs, Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association Over the past year, you may have read in these pages about your local electric cooperative’s concerns about government regulations and how those regulations might affect electricity generation at new power plants that might need to be built to keep our homes cool and power our modern economy. Many of you have expressed your agreement or disagreement with my words — sometimes in colorful language — and I am appreciative of the feedback you have provided me. Regardless of where we all may fall on the political spectrum, I […]

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    Co-ops take 150 students to DC

    A record number of young people from electric cooperative service areas in 43 states — including more than 150 students representing Tennessee co-ops — visited Washington, D.C., in June for the 2014 Washington Youth Tour, spending time with elected officials and taking in the historic, interesting sites of our nation’s capital. Students were rewarded with spots on the weeklong tour of D.C. for writing winning short stories titled “Electric Cooperatives: Serving Our Members Past, Present and Future” describing how locally owned, member-controlled electric cooperatives continue improving lives in their service areas through special community-building programs as well as reliable and […]

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    Co-ops place near top at TVPPA rodeo

    The Tennessee Valley Lineman Rodeo is a two-day competitive event started in 1998 by and for the employees of Tennessee Valley Authority power distributors. The Rodeo, which includes competitive events for apprentices, journeyman teams of three, individual linemen and senior individuals (age 45 and up) recognizes and rewards excellence in safety, skill and knowledge in their field. Held in various locations across the Tennessee Valley, the Rodeo provides an opportunity for line workers to showcase their talents and for family and friends to show their support. Participants, spectators and sponsors continue to look forward to the Rodeo as it cultivates […]

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    Powerful lessons at 4H Electric Camp

    Three hundred rising seventh and eight graders from across the state of Tennessee are exploring the world of energy, electricity and the basic sciences at the 2014 4-H Electric Camp.  While visiting the University of Tennessee, Knoxville campus, 4-H members will discover the world of electricity by participating in various camp learning centers. These learning centers will be taught on Wednesday and Thursday morning, June 25 and June 26, from 8:00 a.m. to 11:55 a.m.  These learning centers provide “hands-on” activities where 4-H’ers “learn by doing.” This year’s learning centers feature: Electric Lamp – Electric lamps give us light. In […]

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