Filmed as a fictional docudrama, National Geographic Channel’s “American Blackout,” premiering tonight, depicts the first 10 days immediately following a nationwide blackout caused by a cyber attack that takes down the entire electric power grid. The movie focuses on several different storylines of how people deal with the blackout. The movie is presented in “real time” by using video clips from recent events, like Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, the 2003 Eastern US blackout, and footage of President Obama addressing the nation.

While the movie is an excellent reminder to be prepared for routine power outages and natural disasters, the current design and operation of the American power grid makes a total electric grid failure, as depicted in the movie, highly unlikely in the real world.

Electric cooperatives take cybersecurity seriously; they have and will continue to take significant steps to protect the reliability and security of the electric system – transmission, generation and distribution. We also partner with federal agencies, including the Department of Energy and Homeland Security, to research threats, strengthen security measures and mitigate risk.

To help your family be better prepared for inevitable, routine power outages, visit

The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association will be fielding the National Survey on the Cooperative Difference statewide beginning in October. The Co-op Difference project is conducted annually by Touchstone Energy and TSE Services, a subsidiary of the North Carolina statewide.

Five hundred telephone interviews will be conducted with co-op members across the state, and our goal is to better understand how different generations of electric cooperative members view their electric provider and how cooperatives can better communicate the value of cooperative membership.

Survey results will help cooperatives:

  • identify overall satisfaction and value propositions by member segment
  • measure the impact of rising energy prices on value and conservation efforts
  • determine the strength of the relationship between members and the co-op
  • understand the dynamics of developing trust and engagement with co-op members
  • examine uses of new technology (smart phones, tablet computers)
  • evaluate impact of community programs on member engagement and satisfaction
  • understand the awareness, use and impact of the Co-op Connections card on value and satisfaction

Additionally, TECA will use the results to craft future communication messages and support legislative activities.

At the conclusion of the research project, TECA and its member systems will each receive a report summarizing the regional study.

Contact Trent Scott for additional information.

John Bowers was selected by the PEC Board of Directors to fill the position of President upon the retirement of Karl Dudley.

Bowers started his career at PEC in 1992 as an electrical engineer after graduating from Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville. He received his Professional Engineering license in 1996. In 1997, Bowers was promoted to substation superintendent and shortly thereafter he assumed the manager of operations position. In 2010 he was named vice-president of operations.

John and his wife Karen live in Ramer and have two children, Seth and Sophie. The family attends the Fourth Street Church of Christ in Selmer.

Fayetteville Public Utilities (FPU) has received high marks after an exhaustive audit performed by Tennessee Valley Authority’s Distributor Compliance Group.

During a presentation to FPU’s board of directors, Walter Haynes, representing TVA, told board members that FPU’s compliance audit was “one of the cleanest” he has seen since TVA began performing compliance assessments of each of TVA’s local power companies.

“The compliance audit that TVA does is an audit that looks at the operations of Fayetteville Public Utilities to determine if you are in compliance with the wholesale power contract that you have with the Tennessee Valley Authority,” he explained.  “The compliance audit looks at 14 different areas that are required by the wholesale power contract we have with FPU.”

According to Haynes, each of TVA’s 155 power companies will be assessed on a recurring four-year cycle, with testing focused on contract areas of billing, discriminatory practices and uses of revenue. And, while FPU was scheduled to have its compliance audit performed next year, CEO and General Manager Britt Dye requested TVA perform the audit this summer.

“Because of some not-so-favorable publicity that another utility had from a comptroller’s audit from the state of Tennessee, Britt (Dye) asked us to come on in and do the compliance audit,” Haynes explained, referring to the scathing audit handed down on Lincoln County Board of Public Utilities last year.

Of the 14 areas of focus on TVA’s compliance report, FPU was in full compliance in eight of those areas, Haynes said.

“FPU had a terrific compliance audit,” Haynes told the board. “Fayetteville Public Utilities exhibits a culture which promotes compliance with the TVA contract.

“Fayetteville Public Utilities is very, very fortunate to have the experience and knowledgeable staff that’s here. It’s something you should be very proud of,” he said. “I can tell you in working with a total of eight distributors, that’s not always the case with all utilities.

“…this is the sixth compliance audit I’ve seen, and this is the cleanest compliance report of those six.”

The compliance audit revealed six reportable results, all of which are minor issues, Haynes said. The issues identified – none of which had a financial impact – have been corrected or have a plan in place to be corrected and include such actions as adopting written documents to specify TVA-approved rate codes, installing a demand meter for one customer required to have such a meter and refunding 51-cents to a customer for an incorrect adjustment.

“When we get down to the meat of what has to be corrected,” he said, “it’s almost nothing in all areas. None of these are bad.”

Following Haynes’ presentation, Dye expressed his appreciation to the FPU staff for their work and said he is pleased with the results.

“We were scheduled to have a compliance audit from TVA in 2014 but requested that audit in 2013,” Dye said after the meeting. “This was a detailed audit that checked compliance with our TVA contract, and the results were very good. We are working to provide the proper documentation in the few issues noted in the audit, and there was no financial impact associated with those issues.”

Janine Wilson, chairman of FPU’s board of directors, praised Dye and the FPU employees after the board was informed of the audit results.

“It was no surprise to me or the other board members that FPU had extremely high marks on the recent compliance report,” Wilson said after the meeting. “Mr. Dye and the employees at FPU go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure that things are done correctly and report to the board each month on compliance issues.

“We are all proud of the job that they do, and this community should be proud of such a well-run organization,” she added. “Congratulations to the entire staff at FPU.”

Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative recently completed their Live Line Safety demonstration trailer.

“We have already hosted a few safety demonstrations for volunteer fire departments, two for CRC co-op camp in Dunlap and a contractor’s meeting hosted by Lowe’s,” says SVEC’s Shelby Potterfield.

The trailer was built by district operations manager Jarvis Wooten and line foreman Dean Cartwright. In the photo, Dean Cartwright shows a group of volunteer fire fighters from Dunlap the importance of a lineman’s personal protective equipment.