Small Towns, Big Ideas


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    Small Towns, Big Ideas

    NASHVILLE – “Small Towns, Big Ideas” was the theme of the 74th annual meeting of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, held Sunday, Nov. 22, through Tuesday, Nov. 24, in Nashville. More than 350 electric cooperative leaders from across the state attending the event were encouraged to be advocates for the communities they serve. “Whether it be broadband expansion, political affairs or economic development, co-ops have unique opportunities to foster development in our service areas,” says David Callis, TECA executive vice president and general manager. “Concern for community is one of our guiding principles. The focus of this event – and […]

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    There is a Cooperative Difference

    While all electric utilities offer the same product, where it comes from makes a difference. In the U.S., the vast majority of people receive their electricity from one of three types of utilities; investor-owned, municipal-owned or through their electric cooperative, which is owned and controlled by the people who use it. Let’s take a closer look at these three types of ownership models and see why it matters to you. In the investor-owned model, the corporation is owned by a great number of stockholders who may or may not be real customers of the utility. Investor-owned utilities tend to be […]

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    Why electric co-ops replace utility poles

    You probably don’t pay much attention to the utility poles in your neighborhood, but did you know these tall structures are the backbone of Tennessee’s distribution network? Strong, sturdy utility poles ensure a reliable electric system, which is why co-ops routinely inspect the thousands of poles found on our lines. Throughout the year, crews check poles for decay caused by exposure to the elements. They know which poles are oldest and conduct inspections through a rotational process. Typically, a standard wooden distribution pole is expected to last more than 50 years. Occasionally, poles need to be replaced for other reasons […]

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    Three keys to understanding the EPA plan on climate change

    The U.S. is in the process of taking a giant step in the noisy process of changing how we generate and use electricity now that the Environmental Protection Agency has released the final version of its Clean Power Plan. That contentious process will continue for years, or even decades, as advocates warn of nothing less than destruction of the economy on the one side and the destruction of the planet on the other. This current energy focus is the result of President Obama’s August 3 announcement of what he called, “A plan two years in the making, and the single […]

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    Why co-ops plan outages

    Have you ever received a notification from the folks here at your local electric cooperative informing you of a “planned outage?” You may have wondered, “what is a planned outage?” and “why does my electric utility need to perform one?” Occasionally, the equipment we use to bring power to your home needs to be replaced, repaired or updated. When this happens, as a way to keep our crews and you safe, we plan an interruption to electric service. We do our best to plan these outages during times when you will be least inconvenienced, so we often perform planned outages […]

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    Appalachian EC announces community solar project

    Appalachian Electric Cooperative is proud to be leading the effort to help folks take advantage of the benefits of solar power and join with others who are supporters of clean, renewable energy. Community-based solar power is an idea whose time has come, according to AEC General Manager Greg Williams: “It’s all about leveraging the economies of scale to improve affordability. Our ‘Co-op Community Solar’ program will make it possible for our residential and commercial members to reap all the benefits of solar generation—including both cost-effectiveness and environmental sustainability—without having to hassle with the challenges involved with installing photovoltaic panels and […]

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    America rediscovers the cooperative difference

    Your alarm goes off and you get out of bed. You go outside and grab the morning paper. You sit down at the kitchen table to read your paper while enjoying a glass of juice and some toast. After breakfast you head down to the local hardware store to pick up supplies to tackle your weekend to-do list. For many Americans, that simple morning routine would bring them in contact with at least five different cooperatives. That alarm could be powered by electricity from one of Tennessee’s 23 electric co-ops. The paper is likely filled with stories from the Associated […]

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    Tennessee’s electric cooperatives celebrate National Co-op Month

    October is National Cooperative Month, and Tennessee’s electric cooperatives – and all co-ops across the U.S. – are celebrating the benefits and values that cooperatives bring to their members and communities. While co-ops operate in many industries and sectors of the economy, seven cooperative principles set us apart from other businesses: voluntary and open membership; democratic member control; member’s economic participation; autonomy and independence; education, training and information; cooperation among cooperatives; and concern for community. “Today, people prefer options and alternatives to ‘big box’ businesses,” says David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. […]

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    A cooperative day in YOUR life

    Co-ops are all around us. By Adam Schwartz So how did you spend your day? Chances are cooperatives were a big part of it from dawn until bedtime. Take a moment to read this quick overview of how co-ops might be impacting you every day. Your morning orange juice might have come from Florida’s Natural, a producer-owned cooperative based in – you guessed it – Florida, but distributing throughout the U.S. If your morning coffee came from Equal Exchange (, you get bonus points because they source their coffee from farmer-owned co-ops in developing countries, and they are a worker-owned […]

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    Don’t fall victim to energy scams

    By T.J. Kirk Across the U.S., cases of fraud and identity theft are at all-time highs. In 2014 alone, there were over 40,000 cases of phone- or utilities-related fraud, or 118 cases every day. Energy scams are becoming more sophisticated and prevalent, and it’s possible for anyone to be tricked by them. The best way to stay safe is to be aware of some of the common ploys, be suspicious of free energy claims and to contact your electric cooperative if anything seems amiss. Phone scams In summer of 2012, thousands of consumers from coast-to-coast, including members at electric cooperatives, […]

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