JACKSON – Union University is pleased to announce that Matthew Keen of Halls, Tennessee, is the recipient of the school’s first $10,000 Washington Youth Tour Creative Writing Competition scholarship. Keen plans to attend Union University this fall.

“Matthew is an exceptionally bright young man, academically gifted and musically talented,” said Robbie Graves, Assistant Vice-President for Undergraduate Admissions at Union University. “We believe that he will thrive here and are so excited to keep this family’s Union legacy alive.”

Keen, a student from the Forked Deer Electric Cooperative service territory, had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. as a part of the 2023 Washington Youth Tour to learn more about leadership, history and public policy.

“Forked Deer Electric is proud and honored to have a local student receive such an award,” said Jeff Newman, general manager of Forked Deer Electric Cooperative. “Mathew is an exceptional student with so much potential. Forked Deer Electric will continue to support our community and encourage others to follow Mathew’s example of what is possible.”

Keen, along with 6,000 other high school students from across the state, have participated in the Electric Cooperative Creative Writing and Scholarship Competition since its start in the 1960s.

“This scholarship means a lot to me as it allows me to attend college at an affordable cost,” said Matthew Keen, scholarship winner. “The Washington Youth Tour was an eye-opening experience that changed the way I view our country. I believe that every American should visit Washington at least once, and the depth that we were allowed to go on with the tour was a big bonus. It truly gave me memories that will last a lifetime.”

The scholarship is part of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association’s partnership with both Carson Newman and Union University. Union University will also award 24 $4,000 per year scholarships for other delegates who plan to enroll at the school for the fall semester immediately after high school graduation.

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 – Tennessee’s electric cooperatives are closely monitoring a major winter storm expected to bring the coldest air in more than a year to the state. Temperatures are expected to fall below freezing sometime on Saturday and remain below freezing until at least Thursday. Tennesseans are urged to plan accordingly.

Here are some tips to prepare your home for the cold weather.

Prepare your Home

Inside Your Home

  • Open cabinets doors in your kitchen and bathrooms to allow warm air to circulate around the water pipes.
  • Allow faucets along exterior walls to drip a small amount of water. Running water will prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Ensure that your home has some minimum heat, even if you are away.

Outside

  • Cover or close foundation vents.
  • Drain and store water hoses.
  • Protect outdoor faucets and pipes with insulation. If pipe insulation is not available, use newspapers, rags, trash bags or other household items to create a layer of protection.
  • Familiarize yourself with your water shut off valve and have the tools necessary to close it if necessary.
  • Turn off power to your water heater before draining pipes.

 

Energy Saving Tips

Energy consumption can spike during periods of extremely cold weather. Even with your thermostat set at the same temperature, the greater the difference between inside and outside temperatures, the more your heating system must work to maintain a comfortable living space. Here are some tips to save energy during periods of extreme cold weather.

Set your thermostat to 65 degrees. You can drop it even lower if you plan to be away from home.

Use drapes to control temperatures. Open drapes to allow sunlight to warm your home. Close them in the evening to retain heat.

Seal cracks. Use towels or other materials to seal cracks around windows or under doors to prevent cold air from entering your space.

Be sure air filters are clean. Your heating and cooling system runs more during periods of extreme weather, and that means that your air filters can become dirty much quicker. Dirty air filters make your heating system run less efficiently, and that can have a big impact on comfort and your energy bill.

 

 

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. 

Today, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced the appointment of Chris Jones, CEO of Middle Tennessee Electric, to the Tennessee Nuclear Energy Advisory Council. The council was created earlier this year to position Tennessee as a national leader for nuclear energy innovation and advancement.

Jones joins appointees from a broad range of industry experience. The council will build upon the state’s legacy in nuclear innovation and drive continued investment to create a nuclear energy ecosystem for the future of Tennessee, including business development, government relations and stewardship of natural resources.

“Tennessee can lead America’s energy independence and deliver continued economic growth with safe, reliable and clean nuclear energy for the future,” said Gov. Lee. “I am confident that these appointees will use their unique industry expertise to ensure that Tennessee is the top state for nuclear energy companies to invest and succeed, creating quality jobs and greater opportunity for Tennesseans.”

“This is an investment in Tennessee’s future, and we are fortunate to have a proven leader like Chris representing local utilities and each and every Tennessean who depends upon them for reliable and affordable electricity to power their homes and businesses,” says Mike Knotts, CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “New nuclear development like small modular reactors is the path to a sustainable tomorrow, bolstering economic growth, fostering energy independence and providing Tennessee – and the nation – with clean, abundant, and reliable energy. We commend the administration for taking this bold step to extend Tennessee’s legacy as a leader in the nuclear sector.”

Other members appointed to the council include:

  • Commissioner David Salyers – Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation
  • Braden Stover – Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
  • Director Patrick Sheehan – Tennessee Emergency Management Agency
  • Dr. Loong Yong, Ph.D., Spectra Tech – Congressional Delegation Designee
  • Adam DeMella, ADG Strategies – Congressional Delegation Designee
  • Don Moul – Tennessee Valley Authority Representative
  • Jeff Smith – Oak Ridge National Laboratory Representative
  • Dr. Wes Hines, Ph.D., University of Tennessee – Higher Education Representative
  • Tracy Boatner, East Tennessee Economic Council – Workforce Development Representative
  • Mayor Terry Frank, Anderson County – Local Government Representative
  • Jennifer Stone, Thompson Engineering, Inc. – Energy Production Representative
  • Dr. Hash Hashemian, Ph.D., Analysis and Measurement Services – Nuclear Industry Representative
  • Michelle Amante-Harstine – Member At-Large
  • Blake Harris – Member At-Large
  • Steve Jones – Member At-Large
  • Maria Korsnick – Member At-Large
  • Dr. Padma Raghavan, Ph.D. – Member At-Large

In addition to signing Executive Order 101 this year, Gov. Lee also partnered with the Tennessee General Assembly to create a $50 million Nuclear Fund in the state’s Fiscal Year 2023-2024 budget. The fund will establish a nuclear development and manufacturing ecosystem built for the future of Tennessee by providing grants and assistance to support nuclear power-related businesses that choose to relocate or grow in the state.

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.”

 

Rodney Metcalf was recently named the new CEO of Mountain Electric Cooperative. He will begin on July 17.

Mountain City, Tenn. — Mountain Electric Cooperative is pleased to announce that Rodney Metcalf will be joining the co-op as the new Chief Executive Officer. He will begin his duties on July 17, 2023. With a proven track record of leadership and expertise in the energy industry, Mr. Metcalf brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to lead MEC into the future.

Mr. Metcalf has served multiple roles at BrightRidge Energy Authority in Johnson City, Tenn., where he spent the last nine years as the utility’s Chief Operations Officer. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated strategic vision and a strong commitment to serving communities with reliable and affordable energy.

Mr. Metcalf earned his Bachelor of Science degree in business from Tusculum University, where he is currently completing an MBA.

“I am honored to join Mountain Electric Cooperative as its CEO,” said Metcalf. “The cooperative has a rich history of providing reliable and affordable electricity to its members, and I am committed to building on that legacy. Together with the dedicated team at MEC, we will work towards enhancing the cooperative’s services and fostering innovation. I am excited about the opportunity to serve the cooperative and its members.”

The Board of Directors at MEC is confident that Mr. Metcalf’s exceptional leadership qualities and deep understanding of the energy industry will guide the cooperative towards a successful future.

“We are thrilled to welcome Rodney Metcalf as the new CEO of Mountain Electric Cooperative,” said David Ellis, president of the MEC board. “His extensive experience and innovative mindset will drive MEC forward, ensuring that our members continue to receive the safe, reliable and affordable energy they deserve.”

Metcalf will be relocating to the Mountain Electric area with his wife Angie Metcalf. The Metcalf’s have two children, Brittany Gray and husband Brian Gray, Logan Metcalf and wife Madison Metcalf. They have four grandchildren.

Mountain Electric Cooperative is a member-owned electric distribution cooperative serving 36,000 consumers across northeast Tennessee and northwest North Carolina. MEC is dedicated to providing reliable and affordable electricity to its members while actively supporting the communities it serves.

NORRIS, TN – Today the Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors held a public listening session at the Norris Middle School in Norris, Tenn. Mike Knotts, CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, addressed the board during the listening session, and a readout of his comments is below.

Norris Middle School | Norris, TN | 2:00 p.m. EST

 

Good afternoon to each of you. My name is Mike Knotts, and I serve as the CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association and represent the 25 local utilities serving nearly 3 million people who depend on their cooperative to power their community.

It is a real pleasure to be here and celebrate 90 years of TVA’s history together with you. This history is OUR history, tightly intertwined with that of the local cooperatives and cities that have connected TVA to the millions of people and business over the years.

There is no denying that the connection between TVA, local power companies, and the residents of the Tennessee Valley have made an indelible impact on the lives of generations of Americans. Our story is unique in American history. And while the issues of the day and the challenges we face may look different in 2023 than they did in 1933, we should take pride in knowing that we have literally changed history through our unchanging mission of the last 90 years. We have a great story to tell.

Taking time to reflect on this is important. Electric cooperatives innately understand and appreciate the history TVA is celebrating today because we helped shape it – both in the Valley and across the country.

When TVA was formed it was given its unique multi-faceted mission because of the specific needs of this part of the country. But, a much broader problem existed across all corners of rural America. The problem was universal rural electrification. Though cities like Memphis or Chattanooga or Knoxville had enjoyed electricity for decades, other communities and farms, like where we stand here in Norris, did not.

The solution to the national problem came in the form of the cooperative. Self-owned, private corporations that are built for the benefit of its customers. Governed by its owners. Founded on seven bedrock principles and focused on the local community. While cooperatives were not a new idea – the seven cooperative principles were first enumerated during the industrial revolution in England – cooperatives were the right idea then and continue to be the relevant idea today.

Today, TECA members serve consumers across the state of Tennessee, covering almost 75% of the state’s land mass. In addition, these same 25 utilities also serve significant portions of Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia – as well some circuits in Alabama and Mississippi.  If you are keeping count, yes, that is all seven states. Collectively, these 25 locally-owned utilities provide TVA approximately 25 percent of its revenues – well over $3B dollars per year.

You know, each of the grainy, black and white photos hanging in this room has its own story to tell and lessons to be learned. I’m particularly fond of that one (gesturing to the right), as it bears a striking resemblance to my late grandmother.

And as we all know to be true, those who do not learn from the past are most certainly doomed to repeat it. So, allow me to encourage each of you to learn from the achievements we recognize today.

But let me also encourage each of you look forward – with purpose and passion – knowing that your role on this Board is important and meaningful to millions of people. Our future won’t be told though grainy, black and white photos. Our future is being determined in real time in 4k video, and our inter-connected world allows it to be seen by anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Please know that your electric cooperative customers stand shoulder to shoulder with you, and are ready to work with you to ensure that TVA’s strategic direction remains focused on what is best for the people we jointly serve. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Please call on me anytime I can be of assistance to you.

 

 

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 – 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.”

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.”

 

 

 

 

The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association has announced that Ryan King will lead the association’s government relations and public policy efforts as vice president of government affairs.

King previously served as principal at the Vogel Group public affairs firm and as vice president of government affairs for the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He has also held positions at with the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation and the Tennessee Farmers Cooperative. King received a bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University and a master’s degree from the University of Tennessee.

“We are excited that a government relations professional of Ryan’s caliber has joined our team,” says Mike Knotts, CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “He has extensive relationships with lawmakers on Capitol Hill and has influenced legislation of high significance in the Tennessee General Assembly. His background and experience make him an excellent fit to support Tennessee’s electric cooperatives.”

“It is an honor to lead the government affairs efforts for one of Tennessee’s most distinguished and well respected associations,” says King. “Electric cooperatives have built a reputation for integrity, service and innovation, and those same values will drive our efforts as we engage with policymakers on behalf of the people of rural and suburban Tennessee.”

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.

 

#  #  #

 

For more information:
Trent Scott, Vice President of Communications | 731-608-1519 | [email protected]

 

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.