May 2015

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Statement on Supreme Court Decision to stay Clean Power Plan

The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association was pleased with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to halt implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan.

Last fall, Tennessee’s electric cooperatives joined the National Rural Cooperative Association (NRECA) in launching legal efforts to stop implementation of the Clean Power Plan. On Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court took action halting the EPA’s landmark carbon rule.

“We continue to believe that low rates and reliable power must be a part of our clean energy future. This decision opens the door to find real solutions that effectively balance environmental and economic concerns,” says David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association.

“If this stay had not been granted, cooperatives across the nation would have been forced to take costly and irreversible steps to comply with these new regulations. The Supreme Court’s ruling validates our belief that the Clean Power Plan is an overreach of EPA’s legal authority.”

In 2014, electric consumers from across Tennessee submitted more than 14,000 comments to the Environmental Protection Agency in opposition to the agency’s proposals to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association is a trade group representing the interests of Tennessee’s 23 electric distribution cooperatives and the 2.5 million rural and suburban consumers they serve. The association publishes The Tennessee Magazine and provides legislative and support services to Tennessee’s electric cooperatives. Learn more at tnelectric.org.

Electrify Africa becomes law

(ARLINGTON, Va.) — The President signed into law S. 2152, the Electrify Africa Act, with strong praise from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and America’s electric cooperatives. Three years after the bill was first introduced, this law will now bring electricity to 50 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa, and lift rural communities from impoverished conditions to improved economic activity and a higher quality of life. The presidential signature came after passage of the Act in the U.S. House of Representatives last week. This followed the Senate’s unanimous passing of the legislation in December.

“We are celebrating this achievement with all our members, because our domestic and international work has always focused on power distribution, and making it possible for people to have direct access to electricity,” said NRECA Interim CEO Jeffrey Connor. “This new law makes it possible to have a significant impact on the lives of millions, and we are proud to be part of this worthwhile effort to bring power to Sub-Saharan Africa. We applaud and thank the bipartisan leadership of Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Ranking Member Sen. Ben Cardin (D-M.D.), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Ranking Member Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), who all believe that promoting economic development by expanding access to electricity will benefit people on both sides of the Atlantic.

“Sen. Corker’s leadership on this legislation has been extraordinary,” says David Callis, executive vice president of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “We are looking forward to see the lights come on for millions in rural Africa.”

NRECA’s international affiliate—NRECA International – has worked in developing countries since 1962. Its global commitment has provided electricity to more than 110 million people in 43 countries.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives in the United States. Those co-ops provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.

Gibson EMC directors Sanders and Buchanan earn Director Gold Certification

Gibson EMC Board Members Steve Sanders and Rana Buchanan recently earned Director Gold Certificates through NRECA’s new certification program. Director Gold demonstrates a director’s ongoing commitment to advancing skills and knowledge. Sanders has been on the Gibson EMC board of trustees for 15 years and has served as chairman since 2014. Buchanan has been on the board for nearly 13 years. Click to learn more about Director Certification or view upcoming classes in Tennessee.

Top five energy users in your home

A starting point for savings

By Anne Prince

While most homeowners would like to be more energy efficient and save money, often it feels overwhelming because many people don’t know where to start. How can the average family use less energy, lower their utility bill and still meet their daily energy needs? To help jumpstart your effort, it is useful to know what the top energy users are in your home. With this knowledge, you can choose a path that works best for your family.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, the top five energy users in U.S. homes are:

  1. Space cooling
  2. Space heating
  3. Water heating
  4. Lighting
  5. Refrigeration

Adjust the temperature

Together, home heating and cooling use the most energy and take the biggest bite out of your energy budget. On the bright side, there are ways you can achieve at least 10 percent savings by taking a few simple low-cost or no-cost steps.

  • During cold weather, set your thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • During warm weather, the recommended indoor temperature is 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cleaning the filters of your HVAC system can cut costs from five to 15 percent.
  • Clean the coils around your electric baseboard heater to maintain maximum efficiency.
  • Caulk and weather-strip around windows and doors to prevent heat from escaping to the outdoors.

No matter what the climate or time of year, proper use of a programmable thermostat can save you 10 percent on your monthly utility bill.

Shine the light on savings

Take a fresh look at the lighting in your home. If you still use incandescent lighting, your light bulbs are operating at only 25 percent energy efficiency. Replacing your home’s five most frequently used bulbs with Energy Star-certified LEDs can save you $75 per year. Another easy way to save is to always turn lights off in rooms that are not being used.

Water heating efficiency

Just as it is energy-wise to insulate your roof, wall or floor, it also pays to wrap your hot water heater with an insulating blanket. This is all the more critical if you have an older unit. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. For additional efficiency and savings, insulate exposed hot water lines and drain one to two gallons of water from the bottom of your tank annually to prevent sediment build-up.

Put cold hard cash back in your wallet

If your refrigerator was purchased before 2001, chances are it uses 40 percent more energy than a new Energy Star model. If you are considering an appliance update, a new Energy Star refrigerator uses at least 15 percent less energy than non-qualified models and 20 percent less energy than required by current federal standards. Regardless of the age of your fridge, there are additional steps you can take to save energy and money. For example, don’t keep your refrigerator too cold. The Department of Energy recommends temperatures of 35 – 38 degrees Fahrenheit for the fresh food compartment and 0 degrees Fahrenheit for separate freezers (used for long-term storage).

By understanding how your home uses energy, you can determine the best ways to modify energy use and keep more money in your wallet. For additional ways to save, visit our energy page or contact your local electric cooperative.

Top Five Energy Users

Top Five Energy Users


Anne Prince writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nations 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives.