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    Safe, reliable, affordable

    Last September, Tennessee’s electric cooperatives were privileged to participate in the opening ceremony of the Tennessee State Fair in Nashville. And during the fair, we provided Tennessee residents the opportunity to share their concerns about the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan. A year later, we are again participating in the “lighting of the Midway,” and, yes, we are still having issues with the EPA. The EPA recently released its final Clean Power Plan. This version of the rule calls for a 32-percent cut in greenhouse gases by 2030 (compared with 2005 emissions). The draft version of the plan […]

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    Staying Power

    David Callis, executive vice president and general manager One early Friday morning this past June, four large tour buses pulled away from our office in Nashville. In a city filled with motor coaches, that’s not an unusual occurrence. However, instead of taking a band on a 20-city, multistate tour, these buses were filled with VIPs: high school seniors from across the state heading to our nation’s capital on a once-in-a-lifetime trip, each student a standout from his or her local high school. This wasn’t the first time this scene played out, and it certainly won’t be the last. For the past […]

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    Staying Power

    Another successful Washington Your Tour is the in books. All told, that makes 50 times that Tennessee has made this annual investment in our rural youth. Past alumni include military and civic leaders, legislators, and the occasional business leader. In fact, none other than Apple CEO Tim Cook took his first trip to Washington, DC compliments of his local electric cooperative. In talking about his first visit to the center of our democracy, Cook said, “In the summer of 1977, I was 16 years old. At the end of my junior year of high school, I won an essay contest […]

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    Energy Independence

    by David Callis Executive Vice President and General Manager Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association Last month, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected an early challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to curb carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, saying the legal action was premature. The panel did not rule on the merits of the lawsuit, stating that objections to the plan were filed too soon because the regulation has not yet been finalized. When the rules are finalized later this year, there will be additional challenges. The decision was […]

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    Transforming power to you

    By David Callis, executive vice president and general manager Looking outside your home, you’ve probably noticed the transformer on the pole (or ground) that supplies your electricity. Transformers are remarkable pieces of equipment. Wires and electromagnetic fields efficiently “transform” 7,200 or 24,000 volts of electricity from transmission lines into the 240 volts that you need. It is deceptively simple. Your electric cooperative makes power distribution seem much simpler than it actually is behind the scenes. We’ve communicated with you about the Clean Power Plan proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Last year, thousands of you made the effort to […]

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    Cooperation among Cooperatives

    Let’s just say it – we’re tired of cold weather.  This winter has brought us bitter cold, snow, and multiple rounds of ice. Statewide, our systems have experienced tremendous damage that has taken days – in some cases weeks – to repair. The Cumberland Plateau was hit the hardest with an inch of ice. High winds compounded the strain, resulting in fallen tree limbs, downed power lines and broken poles. Cumberland County Emergency Management officials called it the “worst natural disaster in the history of Cumberland County.” Veteran emergency responders said the damage was comparable to an EF-2 tornado ravaging […]

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    Energy Education

    “Education is learning what you didn’t even know you didn’t know.” This quote, from historian Daniel Boorstin, sums up the challenge that we face in the electric utility industry. As we get older, we (hopefully) become fairly well educated and consider ourselves to have a wider breadth and depth of knowledge. We tend to have a reasonably good knowledge in our job and perhaps a few other areas. But it’s a big world and it’s difficult to be an expert in every field. I have – at best – a cursory knowledge of farming. In fact, if we’re dependent on […]

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    Powering everyday life

    By David Callis, executive vice president and general manager, Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association Several things about the holiday season bring out the best in all of us. This time of year, we enjoy the familiar sound of the Salvation Army’s bell-ringers. Food banks and homeless shelters see a rush of volunteers, and clothing donations hit a high point during Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. It occurs almost without prompting. There is just something about a “season of giving” that brings it out of us. Giving of yourself — your time, money or other resources — is commonplace during this time. What […]

  • David Callis serves as Vice President of Statewide Services for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association

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    The pace of change

    Few issues seem more polarizing than climate change and renewable energy — even when trying to reach a level of mutual satisfaction. A point I’ve tried to make over the past few months is that you can’t effect change overnight. What I’ve discovered is that readers often interpret my comments through the prism of their own beliefs. I’m not being critical; that tends to occur when we’re passionate about an issue. Some co-op members aren’t pleased when we voice support for coal-fired generation. One particular reader classified it as unrealistically clinging to the past. Some members aren’t pleased about our […]

  • David Callis serves as Vice President of Statewide Services for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association

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    Not a training ground

    I really missed the mark in my February column. While writing in early January that “little evidence is left of the record cold weather,” I had no doubt that winter’s cold wouldn’t last much longer. No one anticipated the Tennessee Valley Authority would set five of its top 10 record peak demands in the first few weeks of the year. Unfortunately, I was half-right: High bills continue to strain budgets throughout the region. On those five coldest days, TVA and the local power companies generated and delivered 3,399 gigawatt-hours. Without delving into the math again (see inset), that’s enough energy to […]

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