It’s tempting to turn the heat on as soon as the weather starts to cool down in the fall. But holding off for a few weeks until you really need to rely on heat can keep your energy bills low.

If you must turn the heat on during the early fall:

  1. Set it no higher than 68 degrees. This will make your indoor air comfortable without wasting energy.
  2. Move furniture and drapes away from warm air registers and baseboard heaters so they don’t block the heat from circulating. The freer the air flow, the lower you can set your thermostat.
  3. Close the flue damper of your wood-burning fireplace. In fact, consider fitting an electric fireplace into it so you can enjoy a light show without sending heated air up the chimney.
  4. Have an HVAC pro inspect your heating system before it gets too cold outside. Regular maintenance can prevent an expensive, inconvenient problem later in the winter when it would be uncomfortable to go even a day without a working heating system.
  5. Caulk indoor openings on external walls, like around the areas where the cable and phone lines come into the house and around penetrations for water pipes and sewer lines. Sealing those openings can keep your heated air in and the cool air out.

Little ghosts, goblins and princesses are a welcome sight on Halloween night. But beware of the vampire lurking inside your home.

You could be paying for vampire energy—electricity that leaks from your appliances, computers and entertainment systems—if you leave them plugged in even when they’re turned off.

Any cord that is plugged into an electrical outline draws electricity. So if you leave your mobile phone charger plugged in after you’ve removed the phone or you leave your computer and scanner plugged in after you shut down for the evening, you could be wasting—and paying for—unused energy.

Most people leave electronics plugged in all the time because it’s convenient to be able to turn them on without having to plug them in again and again, day after day. The worst offenders are “remote-ready” appliances, like computers, cable boxes, stereos, TVs, microwave ovens, garage door openers and video game consoles.

As long as they’re plugged in, they remain in a “ready” state so they don’t have to wake up or warm up when you turn them on.

That can cost you between $165 and $440 per year in wasted electricity, depending on how many devices you have.

A tip: Invest in a high-quality power strip—one that will sacrifice itself during a power surge rather than letting the surge ruin the appliance. Plug multiple items into the power strip and unplug the strip before bedtime. That’s easier than unplugging and replugging lots of appliances.

A caution: Don’t overload your home’s electrical circuits by plugging too many appliances into a single power strip. Especially if you live in an older home, consult an electrician about how much of an electrical load your single outlets can handle.

DETROIT – Ford Motor Company announced Monday that it has selected the Memphis Regional Megasite for one of the largest battery and vehicle manufacturing campuses in the U.S. The partnership between Ford and SK Innovation is a $5.6 billion investment that will bring 5,800 new jobs to the region. Called Blue Oval City, the complex will be constructed on a nearly 6-square-mile site near Stanton in West Tennessee and build next-generation electric F-Series pickups and advanced batteries.

“This is a watershed moment for Tennesseans as we lead the future of the automotive industry and advanced manufacturing,” said Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee.

The site, located approximately 25 miles east of Memphis and 32 miles west of Jackson, lies within the service areas of two electric cooperatives: Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation and Chickasaw Electric Cooperative. While the assembly plant is expected to be directly served by the Tennessee Valley Authority, both co-ops expect the project to have a significant impact.

“The scope of this project is unlike anything Tennessee has ever seen,” said Kevin Murphy, CEO of Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation and board president of TECA. “This development will have a lasting impact on the communities we serve and all of West Tennessee. We are honored that Ford selected our region to for this historic investment, and we are celebrating the exciting opportunities that this will create.”

“This week’s Ford announcement will have a lasting, positive affect on our region,” said Loyd Muncy, CEO of Chickasaw Electric Cooperative. “The economic opportunities created by a project of this size will benefit Chickasaw Electric, our consumers and all the communities we serve for generations.”

Blue Oval City will be designed to be the largest, most advanced and most efficient automotive production campus in Ford’s history. The campus will include the Ford assembly plant, a supplier park and a battery manufacturing plant operated by BlueOvalSK, Ford and SK Innovation’s joint venture. The site will become a vertically integrated ecosystem with key suppliers and battery manufacturing on the same campus where Ford will assemble next generation all-electric F-Series trucks.

The Ford buildout of the Memphis Regional Megasite is anticipated to result in significant job creation and capital investment. The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development projected the following:

  • The project is anticipated to generate more than 27,000 new jobs, both directly and indirectly, to support the site’s operations. This will result in more than $1.02 billion in annual earnings.
  • This project is anticipated to contribute $3.5 billion each year to Tennessee’s gross state product.
  • This project is also expected to generate temporary construction benefits, including $5.6 billion spent on land, buildings and other real property improvements. Additionally, more than 32,000 jobs are expected to support the construction period with around $1.87 billion in salaries related to construction activity.

“Today is a historic day as we welcome Ford Motor Company and SK Innovation to Tennessee,” said Tennessee Department of Economic Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe. “The ripple effect resulting from these projects will be transformational for our state, especially West Tennessee, and we are most grateful for this enormous investment and the addition of two top global brands. To have such a world renowned, American company land as our first tenant at the Memphis Regional Megasite underscores the site’s strength and potential for additional joint venture partners and suppliers.”

Murfreesboro, Tenn. – The Nominating Committee of Middle Tennessee Electric (MTE) announced today that Vanessa Hickman will serve on the MTE Board of Directors, completing the term of the seat vacated by the retirement of Tom Purkey.

Hickman was nominated to the Board after submitting her candidacy during the submission period and completing an interview process.

She will fill the Wilson County District 4A seat left open by the retirement of Tom Purkey, who moved out of the MTE service territory after serving on the Board for nine years.

Regarding Hickman’s nomination, MTE’s Board Chairman Mike Woods said, “Vanessa is a dedicated and highly respected member of our community, and we have no doubt her skills will be an asset to our Board. We’re honored to have her fill this role, and we appreciate the work of the Nominating Committee in exercising its duty to fill the board vacancy through an open process.”

Hickman recently retired from the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority as Assistant Vice President of Information Technology and was the Authority’s first Chief Information Officer. Over the course of a career spanning more than 40 years, including roles at Gaylord Entertainment and IBM, she provided information systems advice on managing IT applications and applying technology to support business goals.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from East Tennessee State University and a master’s degree in healthcare informatics from Lipscomb University. Hickman is a Certified Member of the American Association of Airport Executives and serves as an adjunct professor of healthcare informatics at Trevecca Nazarene University. In addition to her new role on the MTE Board, she has been heavily involved with various community organizations throughout the years. Currently, she is a member of Women of Technology in Tennessee and the Nashville Technology Council (NTC), of which she recently was inducted into their Hall of Fame.

Additional recognitions and honors throughout her prestigious career include Fifty Forward’s 2019 Harriet Folley Leadership Award and being named a 2019 finalist for the NTC CIO of the Year award.

Hickman lives in Mt. Juliet with her husband, James, and they have a daughter, Jamette.

Sixty-three lineworkers from 7 Tennessee electric cooperatives are assisting with Hurricane Ida recovery efforts. The massive hurricane left widespread damage across Louisiana where power restoration is expected to take weeks.

“Our crews have a reputation for responding quickly, working safely and showing compassion to those who have been impacted by storms like this one,” says David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “We commend their desire to serve and wish them well in the days to come.”

Jean Sutton, a resident of St. Gabriel, Louisiana, who is originally from Morristown, Tennessee, took to Facebook earlier this week to thank Appalachian Electric after meeting one of their contract crews restoring power to her home. “You don’t have any idea the hope you give us after such destruction and the life you restore when the power comes back on!,” reads her post.

“We know that there is a long road ahead for the people of Louisiana,” says Todd Blocker, vice president of member relations and coordinator of statewide mutual aid for TECA. “Our Tennessee co-ops are proud to be able to assist them during this time of need.”

Below is a list of Tennessee co-ops providing assistance and the name and location of the co-op they will be helping. This information is likely to change as the storm nears the coast.

  • Appalachian Electric Cooperative in New Market, Tenn. – eight lineworkers to DEMCO in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Chickasaw Electric Cooperative in Somerville, Tenn. – six lineworkers to Washington St. Tammany Electric Cooperative in Franklinton, Louisiana
  • Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation in Clarksville, Tenn. – 10 lineworkers to DEMCO in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Fayetteville Public Utilities in Fayetteville, Tenn. – nine lineworkers to DEMCO in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Holston Electric Cooperative in Rogersville, Tenn. – 10 lineworkers to DEMCO in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation in Brownsville, Tenn. – 10 lineworkers to Washington St. Tammany Electric Cooperative in Franklinton, Louisiana
  • Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation in Carthage, Tenn. – 10 lineworkers to DEMCO in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Photo by David Abernathy. CEMC crews depart Clarksville to assist with power restoration following Hurricane Ida.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe announced today the appointment of Brooxie Carlton as assistant commissioner of Community and Rural Development.

Carlton, a member of the department for more than 13 years, has most recently served as deputy assistant commissioner of Rural Development since 2015. She replaces Sammie Arnold, who has taken on the role of chief of staff to House Speaker Cameron Sexton.

“Brooxie has proven herself to be an extraordinary leader and valued team member at TNECD, and I have no doubt that this will be a seamless transition,” Rolfe said. “Brooxie’s experience and the relationships she has built with communities throughout the state demonstrates that she is the best fit for this role and will carry out the department’s mission to expand economic opportunities across rural Tennessee. We appreciate Sammie Arnold for his leadership and time at TNECD and for making rural Tennessee a priority. We look forward to working with him as he begins the next step in his career.”

Assisting and advancing rural Tennessee is one of the main focuses of TNECD and supports Gov. Lee’s first executive order, which required each executive department to submit recommendations on how to better serve rural Tennesseans. Over the past eight years, the number of distressed counties in Tennessee has decreased from 26 to nine. In her new role, Carlton will lead TNECD’s long-term rural strategy, which is built around a full suite of community development grants and enhanced efforts to support job creation in Tennessee’s most economically vulnerable communities.

As deputy assistant commissioner of Rural and Community Development, Carlton oversaw federal grant funding from the Delta Regional Authority, the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Community Development Block Grant program.

In addition, Carlton managed the administration of more than 3,000 grants totaling more than $650 million, including federal funding in excess of $500 million. She serves as Gov. Bill Lee’s alternate to the boards of the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Delta Regional Authority.

“I have had the opportunity to work with Tennessee’s rural communities for several years now. We have developed programs that benefitted our communities and citizens from downtown development to industrial site development to water and sewer projects,” Carlton said. “I am honored to be able to expand that work and lead a great team that is committed to making our state a great place to live and work.”

Born and raised in Dyersburg, Tennessee, Carlton attended Birmingham-Southern College in Birmingham, Alabama, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with honors. Carlton went on to receive her master’s degree in human, organizational and community development from Vanderbilt University.