NASHVILLE – More than 45 high school juniors from across the state are in Nashville this week for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association’s annual Youth Leadership Summit.

Delegates to the event receive a hands-on look at state government, learn networking and leadership skills and develop a better understanding of their local electric cooperatives.

Tre Hargett, Tennessee Secretary of State, welcomed the students to the Capitol where they visited with legislators, sat in on committee meetings and debated and voted on a mock bill.

In addition to meeting lawmakers and experiencing the state Capital, students also developed their leadership and teambuilding skills at the Joe C. Davis YMCA Outdoor Center at Camp Widjiwagen, completed a leadership training course with leadership expert Amy Gallimore and met Trooper Shane Moore and K9 officer Sumo from the Tennessee Executive Protection Detail. Students also spent a morning at Middle Tennessee Electric in Murfreesboro for a behind-the-scenes look at an electric cooperative.

“Meeting our state representatives was amazing,” said Madison Gean, a junior from Hardin County High School and a Youth Leadership Summit delegate from Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative in Savannah. “We’ve all learned so much. You can always grow and adapt and build leadership skills, and I am grateful for this opportunity. Please continue to do this for other young students.”

Delegates to the Youth Leadership Summit are encouraged to be leaders and use their talents to improve rural Tennessee. “The future is built on the investments we make today, and there is no greater investment that we can make than to prepare these young people to face the opportunities and challenges of tomorrow,” says Todd Blocker, vice president of member relations for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association and director of the Youth Leadership Summit. “These students are selected by their local electric co-ops, school officials and guidance counselors, and they truly are the best and the brightest. The Youth Leadership Summit is an example of the many ways that electric co-ops are building a brighter Tennessee.”

NASHVILLE – more than 8,000 electric co-op leaders from across the country are gathering in Nashville this week for the annual meeting of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, PowerXchange. The gathering is the largest convention to be hosted in Tennessee since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.

“Tennessee’s electric co-ops are honored to host industry leaders from across the country,” says David Callis, executive vice president and general manager for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “The important conversations about energy policy held this week will have an impact on America’s rural and suburban communities long into the future.”

“Welcome to Nashville – what a great, growing, vibrant city,” said Jim Matheson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association during today’s opening General Session. “Every time we meet here, I am so impressed by the personality – and the hospitality – in Music City.”

Co-op leaders will be in town through Wednesday to discuss the challenges of the ever-changing industry and cultivate future-focused thinkers.

Can’t wait to get outdoors to start sprucing up your yard for spring? Take a few minutes before you power up your lawn tools to make sure they’re in good shape for the season ahead.

Here are some tips for spring cleaning your power tools.

  • Dust them off. Even if you store your tools in a cabinet over the winter, they could get dusty. And even if you cleaned them before you put them away for the season, you might find some residual grime and dirt on blades and filters. Use a damp cloth to wipe down all moving parts.
  • Inspect for rust. Older tools are especially prone to rusting. Use steel wool to gently rub rust from metal parts. For tough spots, use a degreaser, and then spray the moving parts with a corrosion protector/lubricant.
  • Do a test run. Before you start trimming hedges or mowing your lawn, turn your tool on to learn if it’s operating properly. Odd noises, dull blades, loose bolts and frayed wires are warning signs that your tool needs repairing or replacing.

Working with damaged or malfunctioning tools can cause injuries. Keep yourself and your family safe by inspecting, repairing and replacing tools that could turn a beautiful spring into a disaster.

Photo by Ra Dragon on Unsplash

How many appliances do you have plugged into the power strip in your TV room?

Take note: Each of those electronics uses a lot of electricity, so if you power up all of them at once, you could be overloading an electrical circuit. That’s because even though each plug goes into a separate socket on the power strip, the power strip itself is plugged into a single outlet.

And if you have plugged a power strip into another one to increase the number of appliances you can power from that single outlet, you could be setting yourself up for trouble.

At a minimum, you could trip the circuit connected to that single outlet. Worst case, you could start a fire by overloading that circuit.

If your circuits are overloaded, it’s time to call a licensed electrician to upgrade the home’s electrical system so it can keep up with the demands new technology places on it.

Here’s how to tell if your home’s circuits are overloaded, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International:

  • Lights are flickering, blinking or dimming.
  • Electrical receptacles on the walls are warm to the touch or have become discolored.
  • You smell a burning odor coming from receptacles or wall switches.
  • Circuits trip on a regular basis.

Here are some guidelines that could help you avoid overloading your circuits:

  • Do not plug large appliances into extension cords or power strips. They need an outlet all to themselves.
  • Get rid of extension cords. They’re meant for temporary use—not permanent. Don’t rig your year-round devices, like lamps or TVs, up to extension cords.
  • Notice how many extension cords you use. If it’s a lot, that could signal that you don’t have enough outlets. An electrician can add more.

Photo by Roam In Color on Unsplash