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 this learning center, you will take a lamp kit and some electric insulators and make an electric lamp that will bring light to your room.

Home Energy Conservation – We use electricity to light our home, cook our food, play music, and operate televisions. But as we use more electricity in our homes, our electric bills rise. In this activity, you will learn how conserving electricity in your home not only helps to lower your electric bill but also helps to conserve our environment.

Electric Motors – Motors convert electricity into useful work. You will learn in this activity the different parts of an electric motor and how electromagnetism makes a motor turn. You will also put to use what you have learned by constructing your own electric motor.

Electric Vehicles – Campers will learn about batteries, DC current and how DC current is used to propel electric vehicles. You will also demonstrate your driving skills by maneuvering an electric golf cart through an obstacle course.

Solar Energy Renewable energy resources reduce the use of fossil fuels and negative impacts on our environment.  In this activity, you will learn about how you can use the sun to power things that you use every day.  Join us as you discover all about solar energy.

Electrical Safety Electric power does a tremendous amount of work for us; but, because it is such a powerful force we must be careful around it. This learning center will teach you how to play it safe around high voltage power lines.

The 4-H Electric Camp is a joint venture of The University of Tennessee Extension; Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association and its statewide member cooperatives; Tennessee Municipal Electric Power Association and its statewide municipal power systems; and TVA.


TDEC and Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association Announce Technical Assistance Opportunity with National Governors Association Center for Best Practices

Project Will Focus on Energy Efficiency Opportunities for Rural Electric Cooperatives

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) Commissioner Bob Martineau and Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association (TECA) Executive Vice President and General Manager David Callis announce that Tennessee has been selected as one of six states to participate in the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices’ State Policy Retreats on Innovations in Energy Efficiency that aim to reduce energy consumption, stimulate economic demand for local energy-related jobs and services, and lower emissions associated with the generation of electricity in Tennessee.

Under the technical assistance opportunity, TDEC’s Office of Energy Programs and TECA will host an energy efficiency workshop for several of TECA’s members and other State stakeholders to discuss potential financing structures under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Loan Program (EECLP). EECLP currently provides funding to rural electric cooperatives and utilities for the purpose of re-lending to businesses and homeowners for energy efficiency activities such as building weatherization, HVAC upgrades, ground source heat pumps, lighting, small scale renewable generation, consumer education and outreach, and energy audits.  The workshop will address Tennessee-specific challenges to advance energy efficiency programs in rural cooperatives and will develop tools and strategies for designing and deploying successful energy efficiency financing programs to members.

“Tennessee’s electric cooperatives are committed to improving the lives of their members and the communities they serve. We are privileged to be working with TECA to identify ways to access capital for energy efficiency improvements in Tennessee’s rural communities,” said TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau. “Energy efficiency improvements result in reduced energy demand and consumption, thereby lowering energy costs for consumers.”

“We’re excited about this joint effort and the agencies that are working with us. The cost of heating and cooling a home can be a burden for low-income, rural Tennesseans, so energy efficiency can do more than make homes more comfortable – it can change lives. These improvements can have long-term impacts for homeowners and the communities where they live,” said David Callis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of TECA.

The Tennessee Team will consist of representatives from the Office of Governor Haslam, TDEC, other State agencies, TECA, the USDA Rural Utility Services, Tennessee Valley Authority, Appalachian Voices, and Pathway Lending, a community development financial institution.


About Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

Environment and Conservation is committed to protecting and improving the quality of Tennessee’s air, land and water. Department programs and initiatives protect human health and the environment and support economic development and quality of life through education, outreach and effective enforcement of state and federal environmental laws. We are also proud to manage the award-winning Tennessee State Parks system — with 54 state parks hosting more than 25 million visits each year.

About the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association

The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association represents the interests of Tennessee’s 23 electric distribution cooperatives and the 1.1 million rural and suburban consumers they serve. The association publishes The Tennessee Magazine and provides legislative and support services to Tennessee’s electric cooperatives.

About the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices

The NGA Center for Best Practices Environment, Energy & Transportation Division (EET) provides information, research, policy analysis, technical assistance and resource development for governors and their staff in the areas of energy, environment and transportation sectors. The division focuses on several issues, including improving energy efficiency, enhancing the use of both traditional and alternative fuels for electricity and transportation, developing a modern electricity grid, expanding economic development opportunities in the energy sector, protecting and cleaning up the environment, exploring innovative financing mechanisms for energy and infrastructure and developing a transportation system that safely and efficiently moves people and goods.

An Obama administration proposal to sell the Tennessee Valley Authority would be a bad business deal that could bump up electricity rates by 13 percent, according to a review by a global financial analyst.

Lazard Frères & Co. declared TVA financially sound, saying there is no reason to privatize it, or turn it into a regional cooperative or state-owned agency.

“TVA’s current strong financial position, ability to self-fund its construction program and anticipated improvements in cost structure, environmental profile and asset mix as a result of long-term initiatives suggest there is no impetus for the federal government to change course,” Lazard said in an analysis released June 4.

Officials at TVA, which supplies power to 155 electric cooperatives and municipal systems, were delighted at the findings and hoped it would end a 15-month dustup about the fate of the nation’s largest public power provider.

“TVA’s healthy financial profile and ongoing efficiency initiatives are expected to generate benefits for TVA’s stakeholders, and Lazard’s summary observation is that there currently is no apparent detriment to ongoing federal ownership at this time,” the authority said in a statement.

Following a suggestion in the administration’s fiscal 2014 budget that it might put TVA on the block, the authority brought in Lazard to go through its financial records for federal budget makers.

The fiscal 2015 budget released earlier this year didn’t include a direct sale provision. But it reiterated that the administration was open to reducing or ending the federal role agency by transferring ownership to state or local stakeholders.

However, Lazard said spinning off the 81-year-old agency wouldn’t reduce the federal budget deficit, because it receives no current appropriations.

In fact, TVA is on track to pay down its debt to $20.8 billion by 2023, which might actually help the federal budget, Lazard said.

Also, TVA’s customers would have to pay for any change in status, Lazard said. That would mean a jump in retail rates of as much as 13 percent from the current 8.7 cents per kilowatt-hour.

“The Federal Government appears likely to realize minimal, if any, value in a divestiture without a significant value transfer from ratepayers in the form of higher rates,” the adviser said.

By Steven Johnson | ECT Staff Writer

Tennessee’s electric cooperatives call for consumers to take action.

NASHVILLE – Tennessee’s electric cooperatives express concern following the release of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed guidelines that will limit emissions from thousands of existing power plants, including 11 coal plants operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority.

“Estimates indicate that Tennessee will be among the hardest hit by the state requirements, calling for a 38 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030,” says David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “These regulations will hurt Tennessee families, and we are just beginning to understand how severe the impacts will be.”

Tennessee has already taken significant steps to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. “The average monthly residential energy use in Tennessee has fallen 16 percent since 2010, and TVA has reduced its carbon emissions by 30 percent since 2005,” says Callis.

“It is important that we make our voices heard. Affordable energy and a strong Tennessee economy depend on an all-of-the-above approach to energy generation.”

The EPA will hold a 120-day public comment period, and you can submit your comments to the EPA by visiting

“The economic challenges faced by many cooperative members make it critical that EPA regulatory programs be cost effective and provide environmental benefits that exceed the implementation and compliance costs,” says Callis.

The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association is a trade group representing the interests of Tennessee’s 23 electric distribution cooperatives and the 1.1 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


Trent Scott | [email protected] | 731.608.1519

Soaring temperatures and sultry summer nights can cause electric bills to skyrocket. This summer, take a vacation from high electric bills by making your home—and your family’s habits—more energy efficient.

Beat the Heat

Air conditioning helps most Americans beat the sweltering summer heat. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), air conditioning accounts for as much as 50 percent of the average household electric bill. Proper maintenance and smart use of your home’s cooling system will help keep your electric bill in check.

First, make sure your air conditioner’s external unit is clean and free of debris. Clear away dead leaves or overgrown plants and weeds to enable the unit to perform as it should.

Second, change all of the air filters inside your home quarterly, or more often in homes with allergy sufferers or smokers. Fresh filters not only reduce the strain on your cooling system, but improve the air quality in your home.

Third, the DOE recommends that you set your home’s thermostat as high as possible, while still maintaining a comfortable environment for your family during the summer months.

Bumping the thermostat up at least two degrees can make a noticeable difference on your power bill. Investing in a programmable thermostat can lead to even greater savings by automatically adjusting it so that the cooling system runs more often when you are at home and less often when you are away.

Made in the Shade

Windows are not only great sources of natural light in your home, but also great sources of heat during the summer. Curtains, blinds, and shades are some of the most cost-effective ways to make your windows and home more energy efficient. These window coverings offer low- cost, stylish solutions to shield the sun’s rays and keep the interior of your home cool and comfortable. Proper weather stripping and caulking around window panes and casings will also improve the function of your windows by keeping the cool air in and the hot air out. Solar film applied to your home’s existing windows will further repel the summer heat.

Daily Grind

Today’s appliances are more energy efficient than ever, performing better and using less electricity than they did in the past. But despite their functionality and efficiency, most major household appliances give off heat when in use. During peak daytime temperatures, the residual heat from appliances can put an unnecessary strain on your home’s cooling system and send your power bill soaring. Cooler temperatures in the early morning or late evening make these ideal times for running the dishwasher or washing and drying clothes. When possible, turn off your dishwasher’s dryer cycle. This prevents even more residual heat from warming your home and saves on your power bill. Washing your clothes in cold water and hanging them out to dry are also great strides in reducing your household energy consumption.

As your summer heats up, visit to find out how little changes around the house can add up to big energy savings.

Sources: U.S. Department of Energy,,

By B. Denise Hawkins

Bulbs, brands, lumens, and labels — oh my!

If you have been gradually making the switch to the new energy efficient lighting choices, you’ve noticed that more changes have come to the light bulb aisle. Remember when the odd looking corkscrew compact fluorescent (CFL) bulb was introduced to consumers a few years ago? It’s still there and so are most of the classic pear-shaped incandescent bulbs. But today’s lighting choices have expanded and gotten serious makeovers­—their packaging labels and lingo included. There are LEDs, CFLs, halogen, lumens, CRI, and more, and there is a host of lighting brands. But in recent years, the focus has been on making all bulbs more energy efficient and cost effective.

End of an Era

We’ve basked in the golden glow of Thomas Edison’s incandescent bulb since the 1800s, but this January marked the end of its run. That’s when the federal government finalized its mandated phase out of selected general-purpose light bulbs and Edison’s less energy efficient incandescent ones. While you still may find 100- and 75-watt bulbs on store shelves, manufacturers in the U.S. stopped producing them. The old 40- and 60-watt bulbs, which represented over half the market, are following suit. What brought about the lighting change? In 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy estimated that home and commercial lighting was consuming more electricity annually–about 300 billion kilowatt-hours of lighting or the equivalent of about 100 power plants—but most of it was wasted. Old-fashioned incandescent bulbs used plenty of energy to produce only 10 percent light, with 90 percent of the energy given off as heat. In comparison, today’s more energy-saving incandescent light bulbs use 25 percent less energy to do the job of lighting the same spaces in your home.

Look on the Bright Side

Prime replacements for the traditional incandescent light bulb are the higher-efficiency CFL and LED or light emitting diode bulbs. But be prepared to pay more upfront for some of the bulbs you choose. Lighting experts say that LEDs are the best choice for energy efficiency and if price is not a concern—they can last for up to two decades, save you 75 percent or more in energy costs, and offer superior color and brightness. However, they can cost an estimated $10 to $60 per bulb.

The Energy Department assures consumers that there is a bright side—lower electricity bills over the longer term. These are their estimates: using a traditional incandescent bulb adds about $4.80 per year to the average household electric bill, but a CFL bulb adds just $1.20 a year and an LED about $1 per year. That means that a typical household could potentially save about $50 per year by replacing 15 old incandescent bulbs.

Lighting the Way

Since lighting accounts for nearly 20 percent of the average home’s electricity use, don’t stay in the dark when shopping for new bulbs that save on energy and your electric bill. Things to know before you go:

Lumens are the new watts. It’s all about the lumens or the amount of light a light bulb emits. Remember this formula: The higher the lumens, the brighter the light—to replace a 100-watt incandescent bulb, choose a bulb that offers about 1,600 lumens. There are handy charts at that help you compare the old measure of watts to lumens.

Three-steps to your new bulbs. STEP 1: Choose the amount of lumens you need based on how bright you want a room; STEP 2: Determine which bulb has the lowest estimated energy cost per year. This will save you the most money; and STEP 3: Choose bulbs based on your needs—how long it will last and light appearance.

Read the label. Always check the package, making sure that it carries the U.S. Department of Energy’s ENERGY STAR® logo. New Lighting Facts labels on boxes will also help consumers understand what they are purchasing—amount of lumens, estimated annual operating cost, and light color.

B. Denise Hawkins writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives.

Sources: U.S. Department of Energy, Natural Resources Defense Council