NASHVILLE – Forty-three high school students were in Nashville this week for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association’s annual Youth Leadership Summit. The juniors were chosen by school guidance counselors and sponsored by their local electric cooperatives.

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

While in Nashville, the students visited the State Capitol Building where they were welcomed by Secretary of State Tre Hargett and members of the Tennessee General Assembly. Summit attendees held a mock legislative session in the Senate Chambers, debating and voting on a bill they developed. In addition to lawmakers, students heard from leaders like Miss Tennessee’s Outstanding Teen, Jane Marie Franks, and trooper Shane Moore and K-9 Officer Sumo with the Tennessee Executive Protection Detail.

The Youth Leadership Summit also included a day of leadership training at the Joe C. Davis YMCA Outdoor Center and a behind-the-scenes tour of Bridgestone Arena prior to a Nashville Predators game.

Delegates to the Youth Leadership Summit are encouraged to be leaders in their hometowns and use their talents to improve rural Tennessee.

“The Youth Leadership Summit gives the brightest students in rural and suburban Tennessee the opportunity to expand their leadership skills,” says Todd Blocker, Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association vice president of member relations and director of the Youth Leadership Summit. “These young people will be the next generation of leaders in rural Tennessee, and I commend electric co-ops for supporting this effort to prepare young people for the future.”

NASHVILLE – This week Mike Partin, president and CEO of Sequachee Valley Electric Membership Corporation in South Pittsburg, was elected secretary-treasurer of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Board of Directors.

NRECA is a trade association that represents more than 900 electric cooperatives across the nation. The association’s mission is to promote, support and protect the community and business interests of electric cooperatives.

Partin is the first NRECA board officer from Tennessee to be elected in more than 25 years. As an officer on the NRECA board, he will influence policy-making that impacts electric cooperatives as well as the direction of the industry on a national scale.

“Tennessee’s electric co-ops congratulate Mike on this extraordinary accomplishment,” says Mike Knotts, CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “He has been a leader among the state’s electric cooperatives for many years, and we’re excited to learn that he will now be representing Tennessee on a national level. NRECA will benefit from his knowledge of our industry and his passion for rural communities.”

Many of your once-a-year spring cleaning chores can save energy all year round. Some examples:

  • Clean windows inside and out. The cleaner the panes are, the more sunlight can shine through them, making it less necessary to turn on lights and run space heaters in the spring.
  • Replace the air filters in your HVAC system. If they’re full of dust, dirt and pet hair, air will have a hard time passing through them. Poor airflow makes your air conditioner work harder to do its job.
  • Clear fallen branches and leaves and other debris that might have fallen on the outdoor unit of your air conditioning system over the winter. For the unit to work properly, air needs to circulate around it.
  • Climb a ladder and dust ceiling fan blades. When the fan starts running, it can knock accumulated dust into your room, which is bad for air quality and can wind up in in your air conditioning vents or filters.
  • Snake your dryer vent or hire a pro to do it for you.
  • Pull your refrigerator slightly out from the wall and vacuum behind it. If your fridge has exposed coils, vacuum those, too.

Hot summer days aren’t too far off. Why not start thinking about planting some shade trees in your yard to keep your family cool?

Here are five benefits of shade trees around the house.

  1. Planting shade trees strategically around your house can shield your home from hot sunrays in the summer. The less heat and light that comes through your windows, the cooler your home will be, and that means you could rely less on air conditioning. That can lead to lower electric bills.
  2. A hedge of trees and plants adds privacy to a backyard patio. But trees don’t only prevent others from seeing in; they can block an unsightly view and even diffuse noise from nearby streets and parks.
  3. Beautiful trees can boost your property values—by up to 15%, according to some nurseries. That makes planting a good investment.
  4. Trees that flower or those with leaves that change colors before they fall during autumn can add beauty to your landscape.
  5. Trees are good for the environment. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air, which slows the buildup of the gas in the atmosphere.

ONIEDA – A group of utility officials from the African nation of Zambia visited Plateau Electric Cooperative in Onieda on Wednesday to learn more about electric cooperatives.

Representatives of the Zambian Electric Cooperative Development Program visited PEC to gather vital information as part of their five-year initiative to support increased electric utility access in rural Zambia. The visit was coordinated by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s International Program.

“The Cooperatives formed by the ZECDP will contribute to the country’s goal of increasing the current 4% rural electrification rate to 51% by 2030,” says Rajeena Shakya, Business Development Specialist for NRECA International. The Zambian study tour hopes to increase awareness of the electric co-op development process and key technical assistance needed to support emerging co-ops.

“Our CEO Dave Cross led the group during their time here, showing them our facilities, discussing operations, statistics, and logistics,” said Rachel Human, communications director for Plateau Electric Cooperative. “It was important to us to show them how electric co-ops are managed and governed.”

The Zambian delegates were given an overview by Cross and PEC board president Tim Freels on the history of the cooperative, billing information, the board election process, as well as the cooperative’s service area and organizational structure. The group wrapped up their visit by taking a tour of the cooperative’s Scott County facility.

The Zambia Electric Cooperative Development Program will receive funding from multiple national and international sources, but the first step in the process was to view a successful electric co-op in action and gather information. “We wanted to demonstrate the community-based electric co-op model and how local community is not only a priority, but supported by investing which generates income for growth,” Shakya said.

“This meeting was very beneficial to our group,” said Dr. Chimuka Francescah Chisangano, Permanent Secretary and Zambian Ministry of Energy official, at the conclusion of the visit. “I believe the success that PEC has had can be duplicated in Zambia. It’s all about bringing equal access to electricity to our people.”

“We’re really pleased that we got to host you all today,” said Dave Cross, CEO of Plateau Electric Cooperative, at the conclusion of the visit. “All of us here at PEC are honored to have been chosen to work with this outstanding group.”





Tennessee’s electric cooperatives are pleased to host more than 9,000 electric co-op leaders from across the nation for NRECA’s PowerXchange event.

“It’s Time to Lead” is the theme of this year’s event, the largest annual gathering of rural and suburban energy leaders in the country.

“As we prepared for this meeting, the excitement kept building because there’s so much to say in a moment like this,” said NRECA CEO Jim Matheson during his opening remarks. “But, one thing was obvious, and it became the theme for this meeting:  It’s Time to Lead.”

“Electric co-ops have the knowledge and the tools to do more for our members than at any point in time since we turned the lights on,” he continued. “We have the trust of our members and the support to make crucial new investments in our communities.  It’s a big job – a job for leaders.  Who better to take on that responsibility than us?”

Tennessee’s electric co-ops are pleased to welcome co-op leaders to the Volunteer State. “These are vital conversations that are taking place at a time of rapid transition, and we are honored to have them taking place here in Tennessee,” says Mike Knotts, CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “We’re glad that so many of our Tennessee co-op leaders can participate in these discussions. From policy issues to emerging technology, there is massive value for our co-op leaders and the communities they represent to engage in and learn from the information being shared this week.”

NRECA’s PowerXchange meeting runs through Wednesday, March 8 in downtown Nashville.

NASHVILLE – Electric cooperative leaders from across the state gathered in Nashville on Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 28 and March 1, for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association’s 2023 Legislative Conference. More than 150 electric co-op members and employees were in attendance to learn about pressing legislation that will impact electric co-ops and the rural and suburban communities they serve.

Paul Bailey, chairman of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, and Kevin Vaughan, chairman of the House Commerce Committee, welcomed attendees to Nashville and discussed opportunities facing the state.

“You are the backbone of Tennessee’s success story,” said Sen. Bailey.

During meetings with legislators on Capitol Hill, co-op leaders stressed the important role co-ops play in their communities and briefed lawmakers on issues that impact rural and suburban Tennessee. ­

“Electric co-ops are important to the communities we serve” says Ryan King, vice president of government affairs for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “In order to successfully serve our communities, it is important to tell the electric cooperative story and educate lawmakers about the impact of proposed legislation. Keeping rates low is a major priority for electric co-ops. It is critical that we monitor the impacts of legislation and regulatory actions in order to remain good stewards of the resources with which we have been entrusted.”

“Legislators consider bills that have serious consequences for co-ops and the communities they serve,” says Keith Carnahan, president of TECA’s board of trustees and CEO of Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative located in Centerville. “We must tell legislators that co-ops are not-for-profit, member-owned and –regulated private businesses that impact rural and suburban Tennessee in many ways.”

More than 100 legislative visits were made during the conference, and many legislators from across the state attended a reception honoring members of the Tennessee General Assembly.