NASHVILLE – The little vampires who ring your doorbell on Halloween night aren’t the only ones you should be afraid of. Electricity vampires are all over your house—all year long.

Electrical vampires are appliances and electronics that continue to pull electricity, even when they are turned off.

According to the US Department of Energy, vampires account for up to 5 percent of the energy in your house. To save you from a witch hunt, electric co-ops offer a list of the most likely vampires in your house:

  1. Computers, modems, routers, printers and other related equipment.
  2. Your flat-screen TV. The larger it is, the more energy it uses, even when turned off.
  3. Home theater equipment, including surround-sound devices.
  4. Your cable or satellite TV box.
  5. Anything with a digital time display, like your microwave oven or DVD player.

If an electrical device has a continuous display, like a digital clock, if it charges batteries, like your mobile phone charger, or if it has a remote control, like your TV—it’s a vampire.

The best way to stop these vampires is to unplug them when you’re not using them. You may also consider purchasing power strips so you have to pull just one plug to stop a group of electronics from using vampire electricity.

Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative ran out of barbeque at its 80th annual meeting, but that didn’t diminish the enthusiasm of the record number of members who showed up at the unique setting.

This year, the South Pittsburg, Tennessee, co-op scored The Caverns, a subterranean venue on the fringe of the co-op’s service territory that hosts live music events, including the acclaimed PBS series “Bluegrass Underground.”

More than 1,000 members showed up, with some driving nearly 100 miles to be there.

That’s nearly triple normal attendance, said SVEC President and CEO Mike Partin, noting there were many first-timers and younger members among the crowd.

“It was a great opportunity for us to share our story with a different demographic,” he said. “We got a lot of exposure to a lot of new faces just because we stepped out of our comfort zone.”

He said the co-op has been inundated with positive member feedback since the Aug. 8 meeting.

“Our message to other co-ops is: Think outside the box about member engagement and use the annual meeting as a tool.”

Partin said he got the idea to celebrate SVEC’s milestone anniversary at The Caverns during a conversation with neighbor Todd Mayo, who owns the venue and relocated it to the Pelham Valley last year.

Staff members and the board were initially skeptical, he said. SVEC typically schedules its annual meetings in a school and rotates the location to make it convenient for members.

“We worried, ‘Will they come this far?’” he said. “And, gosh, they certainly did.”

More than 1,000 members—a record crowd—gathered for SVEC’s 80th annual meeting in The Caverns, the subterranean music venue in the co-op’s service territory. (Photo By: SVEC)

All activities took place underground, including the business meeting, information booths for SVEC’s propane and broadband teams and an electric vehicle display. A photo-op bucket featured a lineman and a co-op director dressed in a caveman costume. Local bluegrass band Track 145 provided the music.

The huge turnout did have one drawback. SVEC planners are accustomed to provisioning for about 300 members at annual meetings. This year, they ordered enough barbeque for 500.

“We had over 1,000 folks,” said Partin. “So, we got grills, and we went out and bought every hotdog in a 20-mile radius.

“The members didn’t complain. They were excited about the venue. And a lot of new folks came and heard about the exciting things the co-op is doing.”

Cathy Cash is a staff writer for NRECA.

NASHVILLE – American Mainstreet Publications presented The Tennessee Magazine editor Robin Conover with the Lynne Christenson Award of Excellence at the organization’s annual meeting this week in Alabama.

American Mainstreet Publications is an advertising cooperative owned by electric co-op statewide publications. The Lynne Christenson Award of Excellence is presented to an AMP member who exemplifies the work ethic, tenacity and professionalism of Lynne Christenson, former advertising manager for Kentucky Living Magazine. Christenson was a passionate advocate for electric co-op magazines before losing a battle with cancer in 2015.

“Robin exhibited a strong and steady hand guiding the National Country Market membership through its rebranding as American MainStreet Publications,” said Mona Neely, editor of Colorado Living Magazine and AMP board member. “She has kept the board focused on supporting our team as it works to make AMP relevant in an ever-changing and fast-moving marketplace. She did this all while maintaining the excellence of her own magazine and excelling as an amazing photographer.”

“A team leader who gave 110% all the time, dreamed big, thought outside the box and followed through to make thing happen is how I would describe Lynne Christenson,” said Conover. “Lynne was a mentor and a dear friend of mine. I am humbled and honored to receive this award. She was a passionate leader who always had the mission of the electric cooperatives and our magazines at heart. As advertising manager for Kentucky Living, Lynne led our national sales cooperative, National Country Market, now known as American MainStreet Publications. She helped define how we approach sales and advertising with our national network of electric cooperative magazines. Lynn was a good friend, and I am honored to receive this award.”

“Robin’s talents are no secret, and we enjoy when others recognize and honor those talents,” said David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “We are fortunate to have her on our team.”

“National advertising is increasingly important to our magazines,” said Conover. “AMP plays an important role in recruiting high-quality advertising for the statewide publications. This revenue helps us offset cost and to create better, more effective magazines.”

Robin Conover, center, receives the 2019 Lynne Christenson Award of Excellence from American Mainstreet Publications. Presenting the award are AMP board member Mona Neeley, left, and AMP Senior Vice-president and Chief Operating Officer Mark Adesco, right.