NASHVILLE – More than 175 electric cooperative leaders from across the state gathered in Nashville on Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 20 and 21, for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association’s 2024 Legislative Conference. Electric co-op members and employees in attendance had important conversations about energy and policy that will impact electric co-ops and the rural and suburban communities they serve.

Attendees at the event heard from political strategists and policy advisors as well as Tennessee leaders, including advisors to Gov. Bill Lee and Secretary of State Tre Hargett.

“Reliability took center stage during discussions with legislators this year,” said Ryan King, vice president of government affairs for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “From cybersecurity to EPA regulations, co-op leaders advocated for specific legislation that will harden the grid and protect energy supply.”

Meetings were also about building relationships. “When a bill crosses a legislator’s desk that can impact energy or rural and suburban Tennessee, we want them to know who to call,” said King. “Building strong relationships with lawmakers can have a significant impact on bills that are passed and, ultimately, an electric co-op’s ability to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy to its communities.”

“We have great legislators serving Tennessee’s rural and suburban communities, but energy is an incredibly complex industry,” said Dan Rodamaker, CEO of Gibson Electric Membership Corporation and chairman of the TECA board of trustees. “It is critical that electric co-ops are at the table, helping lawmakers understand the real-world impacts of policy and law.”

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

The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association provides leadership, advocacy and support for Tennessee’s 23 electric cooperatives and 3 million consumers. The association also publishes The Tennessee Magazine, the state’s most widely circulated periodical. Visit tnelectric.org or tnmagazine.org to learn more.

 

Photos from the event are available here.

Nashville, TENN. – The seventh Tennessee Electric Cooperative Day of Service takes place today. More than 800 electric co-op employees are scheduled to volunteer some 2,100 hours to complete twenty-six individual service projects across the state. This year’s projects include cleaning up litter and storm damage and building beds and playgrounds to hosting supply and food drives and luncheons to celebrate educators and first responders.

“Each day co-op employees work to make life better for their communities, but the Day of Service takes that up a notch,” says Trent Scott, TECA’s vice president of communications and organizer of the event. “This event gives them the opportunity to light up more than homes and street lights. Across the state today, co-op volunteers are eagerly rolling up their sleeves and working on projects that will have a meaningful impact on their neighbors. Co-op care, and that is especially clear to see today.”

Sponsors for the 2023 Day of Service were TVA, Bass, Berry and Sims, Ervin Cable Construction, Silicon Ranch, Tennessee811  and The Tennessee Magazine.

In the seven-year history of the Day of Service event, 3,500 employees have volunteered more than 8,700 hours to complete 179 individual projects in co-op communities across the state.

Co-ops participating in the 2023 Day of Service and the projects they completed were:

  • Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation – Building a playground for Judy’s Hope. 
  • Fayetteville Public Utilities – Volunteering at the Hands of Mercy Mobile Food Pantry. 
  • Forked Deer Electric Cooperative – Hosting “A Drop in the Bucket” supply drive for Lauderdale and Dyer County Carl Perkins Centers. 
  • Fort Loudoun Electric Cooperative – Completing mission critical tasks for Second Harvest Food Bank and Isaiah 117 House. 
  • Gibson Electric Membership Corporation – Supply drive for Isaiah 117 House 
  • Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative – Volunteering with litter pick up and at a food distribution event and hosting a food drive.
  • Middle Tennessee Electric – Providing lunch for educators on Teacher Appreciation Day, revitalizing a playground at a local school and participating in a community tailgate at a Cannon County High School football game. 
  • Pickwick Electric Cooperative – Volunteering at the Jesus Cares Thrift Store. 
  • Powell Valley Electric Cooperative – Hosting First Responders Luncheons. 
  • Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative – Build beds for Sleep in Heavenly Peace. 
  • Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation – Hosting a canned food drive to donate to various food pantries throughout their service territory. 
  • Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association – Sorting food at Second Harvest Food Bank. 
  • Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation – Participating in Rock the Block with Habitat for Humanity, helping the chamber decorate the town square in Gainesboro, cleaning up tree damage from storms at Smith County Middle School and painting at “The Spot.” 
  • Volunteer Energy Cooperative – Volunteering at Meigs Ministries and Crossville Mission Bible Training Center and collecting supplies for Monterey Headstart and money for Birchwood Cares Center. 

October is Co-op Month — a time to celebrate the unique spirit of electric cooperatives and the profound connections they forge. It is a great time to consider the important role electric co-ops play in empowering rural Tennessee — fostering opportunities, connecting us to the world and paving the path from today to a brighter tomorrow.

Co-ops connect energy and community: At the heart of a co-op’s mission lies the commitment to power homes, schools, factories and businesses in your community. Co-op energy powers education, healthcare, commerce, connectivity and even transportation.

Co-ops connect people and opportunity: Tennessee’s electric co-ops are working to create new opportunities for the people and places we serve. From creating jobs through economic development to inspiring students through our educational programs, electric co-ops connect individuals with opportunities they might not otherwise have.

Co-ops connect small towns and global knowledge: Thanks to our investments in broadband, electric co-ops are connecting the communities they serve with the world. Co-ops bring the latest advancements in technology to the heart of our communities, ensuring that the benefits of progress are accessible to all.

Co-ops connect today and tomorrow: The world is changing rapidly, and electric co-ops are investing today to prepare for a brighter tomorrow. We’re building a robust and resilient electric grid to ensure that our communities are prepared for whatever lies ahead.

This Co-op Month, let’s remember that the very essence of our electric cooperative is to connect — energy and community, people and opportunity, small towns and global knowledge, today and tomorrow. Together, co-ops are not just utilities; they are a vital links in the chain that makes our community thrive. Let’s celebrate the power of connection and the cooperative spirit that keeps our lights shining brightly.

 

CHATTANOOGA – Today the TVA board of directors approved a 4.5 percent base rate increase effective on Oct. 1, 2023. This, combined with the end of the 2.5 percent Pandemic Relief Credit set to expire on the same date, constitutes a  7 percent increase in the amount TVA charges local utilities for wholesale power. On average, 75 percent of an electric cooperative’s revenue goes to TVA for the purchase of wholesale power.

In response to today’s board action, Mike Knotts, CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association made the following statement.

“Tennessee’s electric co-ops are concerned about the impact this rate increase will have on rural and suburban Tennessee. While we understand and support TVA’s need to invest in additional generation to ensure the lights stay on, rate actions of this magnitude will have real impacts on the families and businesses we serve. Co-ops will continue to work with TVA to ensure that Tennesseans continue to enjoy reliable and affordable energy.”

As automakers retool their factories to build electric vehicles (EVs), many more EVs will be on the roadways in the next decade. Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative is helping to make sure that Tennessee is ready with charging infrastructure.

On June 29, MLEC announced that it has installed two chargers at its 28 Park Avenue South, Hohenwald, Tennessee office as part of Fast Charge TN, a partnership between the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), and Seven States Power Corporation.  This Fast Charge TN installation is part of the regional Fast Charge Network that will cover major travel corridors across TVA’s seven-state service area and will complement the broader efforts of the National Electric Highway Coalition, which seeks to enable long-distance EV travel by placing fast chargers along interstates and major highways throughout the United States.

“We moved quickly to participate in Fast Charge TN because we want to make it easy for people to choose EVs so our community can enjoy the environmental and economic benefits of electric transportation,” said MLEC President and CEO Keith Carnahan. “The funding from TVA and TDEC makes it possible to add fast chargers in our community by providing 80% of the project cost.”

TVA and TDEC have brought together local power companies, state and local government partners, and others to pave the way for over 200,000 EVs on Tennessee Valley roads by 2028. The benefits that these EVs bring to the Tennessee Valley region are significant:

  • Attracting good jobs — $13.8 billion in EV and battery manufacturing have helped create over 10,000 EV-related jobs.
  • Reducing carbon emissions from gasoline vehicles by almost 1 million metric tons per year or the equivalent of the carbon sequestered by 1 million acres of US forests in one year.
  • Reinvesting $120 million in the local economy every year from electric refueling.
  • Saving drivers up to $1,000 in fuel and maintenance costs every year.

“TVA is partnering with local power companies like Meriwether Lewis EC and state agencies like TDEC to invest in charging infrastructure across the Tennessee Valley region because electric vehicles benefit everyone,” said Justin Maierhofer, TVA regional vice president. “These investments allow TVA to save drivers money and attract good jobs and tourism– all powered by electricity from TVA and your local power company.”

“Tennessee’s air is cleaner as measured by federal air quality standards than it has been in generations, and a clean environment helps drive economic development,” TDEC Deputy Commissioner Greg Young said. “TDEC is partnering with TVA and MLEC on the development of this station to continue Tennessee’s environmental and economic momentum while further entrenching our state as the epicenter of the electric vehicle transition.”

“This charging location does more than charge cars — it connects Hohenwald to the Fast Charge Network and plays an important role in putting our region on the leading edge of the new electric economy,” said Carnahan.

“As the go-to technology partner for local power companies across the Tennessee Valley, Seven States is proud to support the growing demand for EV charging infrastructure,” said Betsey Kirk McCall, President and CEO of Seven States Power Corporation. “This project is the latest example of how partnerships between private, public, and nonprofit entities can produce lasting real-world impacts on our economy and environment.”

To learn more about the Fast Charge Network, calculate how much money an EV could save you or locate EV charging stations on your travel route, check out  https://energyright.com/ev/.

Learn more about Fast Charge TN here:  www.tn.gov/EVFastCharge.

Today the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Biden administration announced Tennessee will receive $813 million as part of the federal Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program. This funding will strengthen Tennessee’s broadband infrastructure and address inadequate service that remains a challenge for many areas of the state.

Tennessee’s electric cooperatives fully support the state’s commitment to ensure that every resident has access to affordable and reliable broadband connectivity.

“Today’s announcement of BEAD resources is exciting for Tennessee,” said Mike Knotts, CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “Electric cooperatives have established an excellent track record of rapidly deploying broadband networks to the most rural parts of our state. These funds will only accelerate the ability of electric cooperatives to provide that same service to even more unserved and underserved Tennesseans.”

Electric co-ops in Tennessee have taken swift action to tackle the challenges posed by a lack of reliable broadband service. Cooperatives have made remarkable progress in meeting the pressing demands for improved access. With the new opportunities presented by BEAD, electric cooperatives will continue to collaborate with partners at the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to ensure the allocated resources are utilized effectively to establish robust and dependable broadband networks that will meet to the needs of Tennesseans.

“ECD is a strong partner for broadband providers in Tennessee, including electric cooperatives, and Tennesseans can be proud of the state’s stewardship of broadband deployment resources,” said Ryan King, Vice President of Government Affairs for TECA. “We have full confidence their administration of the BEAD program will hit the mark to extend broadband service to as many Tennesseans as possible, as efficiently as possible.”

2023 Robert McCarty Scholarship winners 3rd place, Claire Townley, Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative; 2nd place, Cole Coffman, Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation; 1st place, Livia Benefield Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tennessee’s electric cooperatives awarded $16,000 in scholarships to Washington Youth Tour delegates on Monday evening, June 19, in Washington, D.C.

Ernee Webb, a senior from Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation was awarded a $10,000 Cooperative Youth Ambassador Scholarship. Webb was a 2022 delegate on the Washington Youth Tour. Delegates who remain engaged with their sponsoring cooperative during their Senior year and complete certain community service requirements are eligible for the scholarship. Webb’s name was randomly selected from among the 25 delegates from across the state who completed the requirements.

Livia Benefield from Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative, Cole Coffman from Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation and Claire Townley from Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative were awarded $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 Robert McCarty Memorial Scholarships for having the first, second and third place papers of the thousands of papers submitted across the state for this year’s contest. McCarty was an employee of Volunteer Energy Cooperative and long-time chaperone on the annual youth tour. McCarty lost a battle with cancer in 2015, and sponsoring cooperatives renamed the scholarship in honor of his love for young people.

Hannah Stokely, a delegate from Holston Electric Cooperative, was selected as Tennessee’s representative on NRECA’s Youth Leadership Council. Stokley will attend NRECA’s 2024 PowerXchange meeting in Austin, Texas.

One hundred and twenty-eight high school Juniors from across the state are in the nation’s capital this week for the 2023 Washington Youth Tour. The annual event teaches students about public policy, history, leadership and electric cooperatives. The tour is coordinated by local electric cooperatives, the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

“Investing in these young people not only nurtures their potential but is an investment in the future of rural and suburban Tennessee,” said Mike Knotts, CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “It is exciting to consider the impact that these talented young people will have on their communities, and electric cooperatives are honored to support their academic journeys.”

One hundred and seventy student-delegates, teachers and co-op advisors from across Tennessee are headed to Washington, D.C., as a part of the 2023 Washington Youth Tour. The annual event, which begins today, provides young leaders with an opportunity to explore the nation’s capital, learn about government and develop their leadership skills.

The Washington Youth Tour is sponsored by the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association and local electric cooperatives from across the state. Students were selected for the trip by writing a short story titled “Co-ops Connect” that explains how co-ops connect Tennessee communities with energy, education, broadband, economic development and more.

Delegates on this year’s trip will visit museums and monuments, including the Smithsonian museum complex, the White House and the Capitol Building. The group is also scheduled to meet with members of Tennessee’s Congressional delegation.

“The Washington Youth Tour is more than just a trip,” says Todd Blocker, vice president of member relations for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association and tour director. “It’s a transformative experience that ignites a love of history, inspires leadership, and empowers young minds to shape the future. Witnessing the awe-inspiring monuments, engaging with our nation’s leaders, and connecting with a community of peers, youth tour can cultivate a lifelong passion for active citizenship.”

President Lyndon Johnson inspired the tour in 1957 when he encouraged electric cooperatives to send youngsters to the nation’s capital. In the years since, more than 6,000 young Tennesseans have been delegates for the Washington Youth Tour. Politicians, business leaders, authors and athletes are Washington Youth Tour alumni, including Apple CEO Tim Cook.

“If you’ve ever been on youth tour, you know the positive impact it has on the lives of these young adults,” says Blocker. “It’s always exciting to watch them grow, learn and lead throughout the course of the trip.”

 

NASHVILLE –Tennessee Valley Authority recently announced that Mike Knotts, CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, will serve on its Integrated Resource Plan working group.

TVA’s IRP is a comprehensive study that provides direction on how to best meet the region’s future electricity demand. Twenty-two influential leaders from various sectors will serve on the working group.

“The partnership between electric co-ops and TVA has literally changed Tennessee,” said Knotts. “Tennessee’s rural and suburban communities and the co-ops that serve them have unique needs, and it is important that those needs are heard and understood. I applaud TVA for giving stakeholders a seat at the table to shape the future of the region’s power supply.”

The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association provides leadership, advocacy and support for Tennessee’s 23 electric cooperatives and 2.5 million consumers. The association also publishes The Tennessee Magazine, the state’s most widely circulated periodical. Visit tnelectric.org or tnmagazine.org to learn more.

Washington, D.C. – A group of electric cooperative leaders from Tennessee traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to meet with lawmakers and advocate for policies that could impact co-ops communities. The delegation was made up of board members, executives, and other leaders from electric cooperatives across Tennessee.

The primary goal of the meetings was to raise awareness among lawmakers about the unique needs and challenges faced by rural communities in Tennessee. Specifically, electric cooperative leaders discussed policies related to energy, infrastructure and broadband access, which are critical to the economic development and well-being of Tennessee’s rural and suburban communities.

“Bringing electric co-op leaders together with lawmakers in our nation’s capital is critical to ensuring the reliable, affordable and sustainable energy and infrastructure that our communities depend on,” said Keith Carnahan, President and CEO of Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative and Chairman of the TECA board of trustees. “This is an opportunity for us to advocate for policies that support the needs of rural and suburban Tennessee.”

While in D.C., co-op leaders met with Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty as well as Reps. Burchett, Desjarlais, Fleischmann, Harshbarger, Kustoff and Rose.

“We are proud to support electric cooperatives as they advocate for the needs of rural Tennessee,” said Mike Knotts, CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “These discussions are an opportunity to showcase the important work of co-ops and ensure that policymakers in Washington understand the vital roles they play in their communities.”

NASHVILLE – Today Tennessee becomes the first state in the nation to formally adopt a standing Lineworker Appreciation Day. The second Monday of April of each year has been codified into state law as a day to show appreciation for the state’s 3,500 electric lineworkers.

Dozens of lineworkers from across the state were at the State Capitol today to be honored by members of the Tennessee General Assembly. They were welcomed by Sen. Paul Bailey and Rep. Clark Boyd, sponsors of the legislation creating the day of appreciation, along with Secretary of State Tre Hargett in a special ceremony in the Old Supreme Court Chambers. Later they were recognized from the floor of the House of Representatives.

“You should be honored and appreciated for what you do on a daily basis,” said Sen. Paul Bailey.

“Today we’re being recognized at the State Capitol for what we do, and I consider that to be a great honor,” said Greg Allison, a lineworker for Middle Tennessee Electric. “I love this career, I love the management that I have had in this industry, and I am very appreciative for what it has given me and my family.”

Electric lineworker is consistently ranked among the most dangerous jobs in America. “Safe and reliable energy is a critical part of Tennessee’s economy,” says Mike Knotts, CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, “and lineworkers are the guardians of that infrastructure. Their tireless efforts, often in the face of extreme weather conditions and challenging environments, keep the lights on and our homes, businesses, and communities powered. We owe a debt of gratitude to these brave men and women who work so hard to ensure our safety and well-being.”

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.”

Nashville, TENN. – More than 750 electric co-op employees participated in the sixth annual Tennessee Electric Cooperative Day of Service on Thursday, Oct. 20. Forty-six individual service projects were completed across the state with 757 employees from 17 electric co-ops volunteering more than 1,581 hours in service to their local communities. This year’s projects included painting and repairing playground equipment, picking up litter and coordinating food, clothing and toy drives.

“This is one of my favorite days of the year,” says Trent Scott, TECA’s vice president of communications and organizer of the event. “Co-ops have an impact on their communities each day, but today is special. Co-op employees live, work and raise their families in these communities, and they get excited about these projects. Giving back is natural when you care about the place you call home.”

Sponsors for the 2022 Day of Service were Bass, Berry and Sims, Central Service Association, Ervin Cable Construction, Silicon Ranch, Tennessee811, TVA and The Tennessee Magazine.

In the six-year history of the Day of Service event, 2,705 employees have volunteered more than 6,520 hours to complete 153 individual projects in co-op communities across the state.

Co-ops participating in the 2022 Day of Service and the projects they completed were:

  • Appalachian Electric Cooperative – Support for coat and food drives in Jefferson County
  • Caney Fork Electric Cooperative – Coordinated Christmas toy drive for area children
  • Chickasaw Electric Cooperative – Hot line safety demonstration at a festival, supporting food and toy drive for Fayette Cares
  • Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation – Painted playground equipment for local schools
  • Fayetteville Public Utilities – Assisted Hands of Mercy Outreach’s mobile food pantry
  • Gibson Electric Membership Corporation – Provided classroom supplies for Samburg and Hornbeak areas of Obion County
  • Holston Electric Cooperative – Restoration work at Crockett Springs Park
  • Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooeprative – Multiple litter pick up projects in Hickman and Humphreys counties, food bank projects in Hickman and Lewis counties. Additional projects in Perry and Houston counties.
  • Middle Tennessee Electric – Habitat for Humanity build in Lebanon, Scholastic Book Fairs in Woodbury and Christiana, Discovery Center’s Lantern Parade in Murfreesboro
  • Pickwick Electric Cooperative – Assisted the Jesus Cares Thrift Store
  • Plateau Electric Cooperative – Volunteer work in Scott and Morgan counties
  • Powell Valley Electric Co-op – Lunch for first responders in New Tazewell and Jonesville
  • Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative – Provided meals for veterans, assisted with renovation of a senior center’s garden, building beds for Sleep in Heavenly Peace and work with local animal shelter
  • Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation – Support for Breast Cancer Awareness Day
  • Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association – Volunteering at local domestic violence shelter and The Store free community grocery
  • Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation – Beautification project in Livingston, lunch for front line workers and boxing and landscaping at a food bank
  • Volunteer Energy Cooperative – Donations to food banks in Spring City, Decatur, Georgetown, Benton, Cleveland, Crossville and White County

Dave Cross, CEO Plateau Electric Cooperative and Board President, TECA

Vince Lombardi, famed coach of the Green Bay Packers, once said, “Success demands singleness of purpose.” The purpose of Tennessee’s electric cooperatives — the reason we exist — is to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy and improve the lives of the people we serve.

October is National Co-op Month, which is the perfect time to consider how our purpose impacts almost everything we do.

Co-ops are consumer-owned.

Electric co-ops are owned by the people we serve, not by the government or investors. Co-op members elect directors to represent their interests and set policy and procedures for the co-op. This focus on our consumers makes co-ops far more responsive to the people and places we serve.

Co-ops are not-for-profit.

Co-ops serve their communities instead of shareholders. We distribute and sell energy to our members at cost and invest excess revenues back into the electric system. All of this means that our consumer-owners pay less for energy — 15 percent below the national average.

Co-ops are community-focused.

Electric co-ops work to improve everyday life in our rural and suburban communities. We do this through reliable energy and investments in education and community development.

Later this month, cooperatives across the state will participate in the Tennessee Electric Co-op Day of Service, an intentional effort to get our hands dirty by serving our communities. This is a small but real example of the many ways our co-ops impact the communities we serve.

According to Coach Lombardi, if you wish to be successful, you need to first identify your one true purpose.

Tennessee’s electric cooperatives are successful because we have identified that purpose. It is not serving shareholders in another state. It is not making a profit. It is not pushing a political agenda.

Our business model is unique. It is pragmatic, mission-oriented and people-focused.

Our one true purpose is serving our members, and I hope that is seen in everything we do.

Chris Kirk has been named editor of The Tennessee Magazine, replacing Robin Conover who retired at the end of September.

Kirk joined the magazine team as field editor in May of 2005 and has served as associate editor since 2011.

“Chris is a journalist of integrity who has been an asset for the magazine for many years,” says David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, publisher of the magazine. “He has shown tremendous skill, commitment and passion, and I know the magazine will thrive under his leadership.”

Kirk follows in the footsteps of his father, Jerry Kirk, who also served as editor of The Tennessee Magazine in the late 1980s.

“As far as I’m concerned, I step into this new role as a steward of the quality, informational, entertaining publication that for 65 years has been telling the stories of Tennessee’s electric cooperatives and the communities they serve,” says Kirk.

With more than 775,000 subscribers and 1.7 million monthly readers, The Tennessee Magazine is the state’s most widely circulated periodical. The magazine is published by the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association and Tennessee’s 23 electric cooperatives. Visit tnelectric.org or tnmagazine.org to learn more.

The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association has named Trent Scott vice president of communications. He joined the staff of the association in 2011 and was most recently vice president of corporate strategy.

Scott will lead the association’s internal and external communication activities, including the publication of The Tennessee Magazine, the state’s most widely circulated monthly periodical.

“Over the past decade Trent has been instrumental in positioning TECA as a nationally recognized leader in the electric cooperative community,” says David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “His dedication has greatly improved our outreach and raised our visibility through programs such as the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Day of Service. The state’s co-ops and the consumers they serve will benefit from Trent taking ownership of all of TECA’s communication efforts.”

“I grew up around this industry,” says Scott, whose father was a lineman for Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation in Henderson. “From energy to broadband, this is a dynamic time for electric co-ops and the state’s rural and suburban communities. It is a privilege to help co-ops highlight the impact they have on the people and places they serve. Tennessee’s electric co-ops have a great story to tell.”

Electric cooperatives serve more than 2.5 million consumers and 72 percent of Tennessee. The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association provides leadership, advocacy and support for Tennessee’s 23 electric cooperatives and publishes The Tennessee Magazine, the state’s most widely circulated periodical. Visit tnelectric.org or tnmagazine.org to learn more.

 

NASHVILLE – Sixty-five volunteer lineworkers from six electric co-ops across Tennessee are heading to Florida, Georgia and South Carolina to assist with Hurricane Ian recovery efforts. Sixteen lineworkers from three additional electric co-ops are waiting to be assigned.

The Category 4 hurricane brought strong wind, historic storm surge, significant rainfall and widespread power outages to Florida. Tennessee electric co-ops are assisting with efforts to reconstruct the severely damaged electric infrastructure in the region.

The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association in Nashville coordinates requests for mutual aid and makes travel and lodging arrangements for crews who respond.

Assisting Edisto Electric Cooperative in Bamberg, South Carolina, are:

  • 12 lineworkers from Appalachian Electric Cooperative in New Market
  • Eight from Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation in Clarksville

Assisting Okefenoke Rural Electric Membership Corporation in Nahunta, Georgia, are:

  • Seven lineworkers from Fayetteville Public Utilities
  • 10 from Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation in Brownsville

Assisting Black River Electric Cooperative in Sumter, South Carolina, are:

  • Eight lineworkers from Holston Electric Cooperative in Rogersville

Assisting Palmetto Electric Cooperative in Hardeeville, South Carolina, are:

  • 20 lineworkers from Middle Tennessee Electric in Murfreesboro

Volunteered and waiting for assignment are:

  • Four lineworkers from Gibson Electric Membership Corporation in Trenton
  • Four from Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative in Centerville
  • Eight from Plateau Electric Cooperative in Onieda

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, electric vehicle (EV) sales doubled from 2020 to 2021, reaching a record high of 608,000 sales. Sales of internal combustion engine vehicles grew by only 3% the same year.

The number of EVs on the road will continue to grow over the next five to 10 years, and many brands have pledged to convert to manufacturing only EVs within the next three to 12 years.

Part of this sales growth stems from more choices in the EV market. Today, more than 80 base models of sedans, SUVs and minivans are available. The number of automakers that are exclusively manufacturing plug-in vehicles is also increasing, from recognizable brands like Tesla to growing brands like Rivian, Polestar, Karma and Lucid. Ford introduced its now sold-out F-150 Lightning in April and is already taking orders for 2023.

While the EV market is growing, it has some challenges to overcome before broader adoption takes place. The upfront cost of an EV is more expensive than a comparable gas-powered vehicle, and many EVs are limited to a driving range of 250 miles on average––though there are exceptions. Some automakers offer EV models with ranges over 300 miles and a handful are approaching 400.

Ford, Hyundai, Kia and Nissan offer EV models that are priced around $30,000, and available federal tax credits can bring the initial costs down considerably. EV range numbers are approaching those of a tank of gas, but EVs require more time to charge compared to a gas-powered vehicle’s quick fill-up. Even at the fastest charging level, it takes approximately 20 minutes to charge 80% capacity. This makes EVs suitable for daily driving needs like commuting or running errands but less suitable for longer road trips.

Access to publicly available charging stations is not as plentiful or as geographically accessible as gas stations, which makes using an EV for an extended road trip less straightforward. However, The Department of Transportation and the Department of Energy have teamed up to offer grants to help states and local partners, including electric cooperatives, to develop a national charging network with EV chargers located every 50 miles on interstates. The goal is to place EV chargers where they make the most sense in terms of business or recreational activities. National parks, convenience stores and local businesses could be popular stops for EV charging.

Compared to a standard wall outlet, charging times can be shortened by using a Level 2 charger. Level 1 chargers are the standard charger that come with an EV and provide about 40 miles of range after eight hours of charging. Level 2 chargers provide about 25 miles per charging hour. They consume a lot of power over a short amount of time and require local electric infrastructure to support the increased energy load.

If you’re considering a Level 2 charger, make sure your home’s electrical system is in good shape and give your electric co-op a heads up. This allows the utility to ensure the transformer in your neighborhood can safely and reliably provide power––and your neighbors will thank you.

Katherine Loving writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives

The Hickman County Rescue Squad recently received support from Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative with a donation of $1,500 through its community involvement fund. Pictured from left: MLEC District Manager Matthew Chessor, MLEC Director Johnnie Ruth Elrod, Hickman County Rescue Squad’s Tim Jackson and Chief Toby Warren; MLEC President and CEO Keith Carnahan; and MLEC Directors Wayne Qualls and Dr. Zack Hutchens.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tennessee’s electric cooperatives awarded $16,000 in scholarships to Washington Youth Tour delegates on Monday evening, June 20, in Washington, D.C.

Camden Robertson, a senior from Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation was awarded a $10,000 Cooperative Youth Ambassador Scholarship. Robertson was a 2021 winner of the Electric Cooperative Creative Writing Contest. Delegates who remain engaged with their sponsoring cooperative during their Senior year and complete certain community service requirements are eligible for the scholarship. Robertson’s name was randomly selected from among the 14 delegates from across the state who completed the requirements.

Trace Gearlds from Tri-County Electric Membership Corporation, Malcom Gora from Caney Fork Electric Cooperative and Brayden Rouse from Forked Deer Electric Cooperative were awarded $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 Robert McCarty Memorial Scholarships for having the first, second and third place papers of the thousands of papers submitted across the state for this year’s contest.

McCarty was an employee of Volunteer Energy Cooperative and long-time chaperone on the annual youth tour. McCarty lost a battle with cancer in 2015, and sponsoring cooperatives renamed the scholarship in honor of his love for young people.

Forty-nine high school Juniors from across the state are in the nation’s capital this week for the 2022 Washington Youth Tour. The annual event teaches students about public policy, history, leadership and electric cooperatives. The tour is coordinated by local electric cooperatives, the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

“Investing in these young people is a sound strategy that will pay dividends for rural Tennessee,” said David Callis, CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “These are exceptional students, and our hope is that their youth tour experience empowers them to return home and make a difference in their communities.”