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.

JOHNSON CITY, TN – Today the Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors held a public listening session at the James and Nellie Brinkley Center in Johnson City. Mike Knotts, CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, addressed the board during the listening session, and a readout of his comments is below.

James and Nellie Brinkley Center | Johnson City, TN | 2:00 p.m. EST

 

Good afternoon. My name is Mike Knotts, and I serve as the CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. I appear here today on behalf of TECA’s 25 member power companies who collectively serve consumers in six of the seven states TVA calls home. We are still searching for that one farmhouse across the border in Alabama to make it 7 for 7!

TECA’s members own and operate over $6 billion in assets, and their wholesale power bills comprise over 25% of TVA revenues. Cooperatives are private sector entities focused making life better for our members and the rural and suburban communities where they live work and play. At the last listening session, I encouraged you to consider that the cooperative business model, specifically the 62 generation and transmission cooperatives across America, were the only benchmark that aligns with BOTH TVA’s operations AND mission. But the 49 distribution electric cooperatives you call customers have a lot to offer you as well. 

Today, I would like to offer you some reassurance about a major initiative TVA is currently engaged in. 

I understand that you will hear an update during tomorrow’s board meeting on the progress of TVA’s Integrated Resource Plan. This is a tremendously important endeavor, and I can understand how important its successful completion is to all of you. I am serving as a member of the IRP Working Group and have been involved in the process since the beginning.  

Let me assure you, the process is working and it is working well.  

TVA is to be commended for putting a diverse group of stakeholders in the room and listening to their input. Far from entering the process with foregone conclusions – we have painstakingly considered scenario after scenario, strategy after strategy, consulted with industry experts, challenged your planners, pondered the future of the global economy, invited thought leaders to share their vision of the future and debated with your economists. This has taken a significant investment of time and energy from the members of the working group.  

The end result will be a framework to help this board – and future boards – make sound decisions. It will not tie your hands but serve as light to guide your way

A colleague of mine recently asked me to explain what we were doing. After a long dissertation full of technical jargon, I could see that his eyes were glazing over, so I explained the IRP was a lot like the weather forecast. The weatherman doesn’t make the sun shine or bring the clouds and the rain, and he doesn’t always get it right. That doesn’t stop us from checking to see if we need an umbrella before we leave home or if we will need shorts or sweaters tomorrow.  

Please know that I believe the TVA staff, the working group and all of the external experts involved in the IRP are producing a useful tool. I look forward to its completion and your adoption of its use. 

On behalf of TECA and our member cooperatives, we remain ready to work with you to ensure that TVA’s strategic direction remains focused on what is best for the people we jointly serve.  They deserve nothing less. Thank you. 

NASHVILLE – Tennessee’s electric cooperatives, along with the Tennessee Valley Authority, ask consumers to voluntarily reduce nonessential electricity use through mid-morning Wednesday. Small, voluntary actions will help power providers to continue delivering reliable service during this period of exceptionally cold temperatures across the region. 

“A little effort can go a long way at a time such as this,” says Mike Knotts, CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “Periods of extreme cold can have a major impact on the demand for energy. Taking voluntary steps now helps us ensure that the power grid remains stable and energy is available to meet the needs of the region.” 

Here are some quick and easy ways to make an impact and save you money:  

  • Lower your thermostat to 68 degrees or a temperature that is both comfortable and safe.  
  • Set your ceiling fan to spin clockwise, which pushes warm air down.  
  • Wear additional layers and bundle up to stay warm. 
  • Turn off everything when you leave a room. 
  • Open window coverings on the sunny side of your home. Close them overnight to retain that heat. 
  • Delay using washing machines, dryers, dishwashers and other large appliances until the warmest part of the day when overall heating demand is lower. 

Other energy efficiency tips to consider for long-term savings: 

  • Weather strip leaky doors and windows. Sealing air leaks saves money on power bills. 
  • Lower your water heater temperature to 120 degrees. 
  • Install a programmable thermostat so you can set the temperature to automatically adjust when you are not home. 
  • Replace incandescent lights with more energy-efficient LED bulbs.
  • Unplug electronic devices when they’re not in use. 

 

 

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.

 

 

TUPELO, MS – Today the Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors held a public listening session at the Cadence Bank Center in Tupelo, Miss. Mike Knotts, CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, addressed the board during the listening session, and a readout of his comments is below.

Cadence Bank Center | Tupelo, MS | 2:00 p.m. CST

 

Good afternoon. My name is Mike Knotts, and I have the pleasure of serving as the CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association.  I appear here today on behalf of the 25 local power companies who collectively serve consumers in Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and Mississippi. TECA’s members own and operate over $6B in assets, and their wholesale power bills comprise over 25% of TVA’s revenues.  

Cooperatives are unique among the TVA “family” of entities because co-ops are private companies, not government entities. Co-ops are owned by our specific, individual customers instead of a unit of government or even the public at large. This private-sector perspective brings a unique point of view and important context to the challenges we face. But because we are not for profit, we share in TVA’s purpose and labor every day to make our communities a better place. Electric co-ops empower rural and suburban Tennessee to grow and thrive, and our communities are smarter, healthier, more productive, and better connected because of electric co-ops. 

We urge each of you, as you exercise your fiduciary duty to TVA, to actively seek the advice and counsel of your private sector, cooperative partners. 

TVA and the 153 local power companies (co-op and municipal alike) have traditionally focused on our own core competencies…generation and transmission for TVA, and distribution for the LPCs. Each of the three competencies require unique skill sets and expertise. 

 So while the needs of today are beginning to blur the lines between generation and distribution, TVA and your cooperative partners remain inexorably linked through our history, common mission, and contractual relationship. 

It is that shared mission I ask you to consider today. 

Good organizations take the time to benchmark themselves against their peers, to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of its efforts. In the case of TVA, those peers are usually other large investor-owned utilities. I believe that many of the decisions you will consider tomorrow will be based on data that takes into account a comparison of this type.  

Might I suggest to you that size alone is not the only measure for determining who is similar? Mission must also be considered as key factor. While TVA is unique as a government entity with the multi-faceted purposes of energy, environmental stewardship, and economic development – please hear me say that TVA is not alone in its mission to deliver wholesale energy at the lowest feasible cost while working to make the region the best place in the country to live, work and play.

Generation and Transmission Cooperatives share this purpose – 100%. And all across America, there are G&T’s who serve their communities in the way TVA serves our region. They collectively own and operative dams with hydroelectric generation, nuclear power plants, coal and gas facilities, and many G&Ts are aggressively promoting the implementation of renewable energy into the grid. In fact, TVA’s first CEO counted over 15 years of prior experience at one of the nation’s largest G&Ts -Oglethorpe Power Corporation in Georgia.  

Co-op G&T’s should be an important source of resources, collaboration, benchmarking, and comparison for TVA staff and for you in your role as a Board member – particularly in the coming months and years as you seek new and innovative ways to fulfill our shared mission.  

On behalf of TECA and our member cooperatives, we remain ready to work with you to ensure that TVA’s strategic direction remains focused on what is best for the people we jointly serve. They deserve nothing less. Thank you. 

LaQuella Bond
Communications Support Specialist

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association today announced that LaQuella Bond is joining the organization as communications support specialist.

Bond comes to TECA after spending 14 years working in the electric cooperative industry at Jackson Purchase Energy Cooperative in Paducah, Kentucky. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from Mid-Continent University in Mayfield, Kentucky. In her new role, she will focus on enhancing customer service for The Tennessee Magazine and coordinate advertising and other support functions for the TECA communications department.

“LaQuella’s unique blend of people skills and industry experience make her a valuable asset to our team,” says Trent Scott, vice president of communications for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “We are excited to see the positive impact that LaQuella will have on our interactions with co-ops, readers and partner organizations.”

“I am excited to join the team at TECA,” says Bond. “It is clear that the people here at TECA are passionate about what they do, and it is great to be a part of an organization that has such an impact on so many.”

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. 

CHATTANOOGA, TN – Today the Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors held a public listening session at the Chattanooga Convention Center. Trent Scott, vice president of communications for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, addressed the board during the listening session, and a readout of his comments is below.

Chattanooga Convention Center | Chattanooga, TN | 2:00 p.m. EST

 

Good afternoon. My name is Trent Scott, and I serve as Vice President of Communications for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. TECA represents 25 consumer-owned electric co-ops that deliver power to 3 million homes and businesses.

In 1965 my father – Norman Scott – went to work for Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation, a TVA-served co-op in west Tennessee. He began his career as a groundman and worked his way up, retiring in 2004 as a district manager.

As a child, I remember sitting at my father’s desk following a storm. He would use Post-it Notes to keep track of power outages. These notes didn’t have GPS coordinates or addresses – just a name. He knew where each and every person lived, which substation breaker they were on and how the reports from the crews impacted them.

Today, this same task is performed by outage management software that aggregates data in real-time to pinpoint the location of damage to the grid.

We no longer live in a Post-it Note world.

Ours is an industry that evolves at a rapid pace.

Increasingly, critical areas of our economy, from education to healthcare, commerce to communication, even transportation, depend on reliable and affordable electric energy.

And while much has changed, a lot remains the same. Electric co-ops and TVA share a commitment to innovation, service, and boldly investing in our communities.

In 1983 my dad received this – a commemorative Coke bottle celebrating TVA’s 50th Anniversary. It reads “50th Anniversary, TVA, 1933–1983, Shaping Tomorrow Today.”

Much to the chagrin of my mother, this lived in my parent’s china cabinet. There in the dining room, next to grandma’s silver, was this TVA Coke bottle. My dad loved this industry and the opportunity it provided him to serve his community.

This year, TVA celebrates its 90th anniversary, and the slogan “Shaping Tomorrow Today” printed on this now 40-year-old bottle of Coke, could not be more profound.

The decisions we make today have lasting impacts.

There are great opportunities facing the Tennessee Valley, but with those come very real challenges.

As this board works to solve those challenges, let me encourage you to view co-ops as partners.

Tennessee’s electric co-ops provide TVA with well over $3 billion of revenue each year, but our partnership can represent much more. We can be a source of capacity as well. Whether it be energy efficiency and demand response programs or added flexibility to develop our own generation, electric co-ops are ready to work alongside TVA to solve the Valley’s energy needs.

We value our partnership, we share your commitments, and we’ve been here since the beginning. We want to help you “Shape Tomorrow Today.”

Thank you

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.”

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.

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 – 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.”

 

 

 

 

Before a joint session of the 113th General Assembly, Gov. Bill Lee delivered his fifth State of the State Address on Monday, Feb. 6. In what was the longest of his career as governor, Gov. Lee delivered a robust plan that is perhaps one of the most ambitious we have seen from his administration. The speech lasted 55 minutes, and was just shy of 5,000 total words. As is tradition, it was interrupted a number of times by applause, even once by an outburst.

It is evident from the governor’s presentation, his team will be focusing on a large number of subject areas this legislative session. One of which is his proposal to establish what his administration calls a “nuclear fast track fund” to recruit companies to Tennessee that will specifically establish a nuclear development and nuclear manufacturing segment within the state. “No other state in the country comes close to Tennessee’s legacy, resources, and potential to be a leader in nuclear energy, and there is no long-term national strategy that doesn’t include nuclear energy. We cannot pass up this opportunity. Tennessee can, and should be a leader in nuclear energy for America,” said Gov. Lee. The proposal is slated to cost $50 million and will presumably be housed within economic and community development. TECA will provide more detailed information about the proposal soon.

Also of note, Gov. Lee will be placing significant emphasis on transportation and infrastructure modernization, allocating $3 billion. His administration will also be targeting economic and business tax relief, workforce, family programs, children services, teacher minimum wage, public safety, and conservation. He also proposed placing an additional $250 million in the state’s rainy day fund.

The total spending package will be the largest in state history, just over $55 billion. See below for a more detailed summary of Gov. Lee’s 2023 legislative package.

Notable Highlights from Gov. Lee’s FY23-24 Agenda

Transportation and Infrastructure Modernization

  • $3 billion to the Transportation Modernization Fund to alleviate urban congestion and fund rural road projects across the state
    • $750 million allocated to each of Tennessee’s four TDOT regions
  • $300 million to expand the State Aid Program for local road projects
  • Proposing new comprehensive legislation centering on Alternative Delivery Models, Public-Private Partnerships, Electric/Hybrid Vehicle Fees

Economic Opportunity and Tax Relief

  • $288.3 million for a one-time three-month sales tax holiday on food from August 1 to October 31, 2023, providing tax relief for Tennessee families
  • Beginning a three-year transition to Single Sales Factor for franchise and excise taxes to improve TN’s ability to compete for jobs and investment
  • $64 million to simplify tax administration and conform with the federal bonus depreciation provisions of 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, allowing businesses to more quickly recover costs and further incentivize investment in Tennessee production
  • $37.8 million for Small Business Excise Tax Relief, establishing a standard deduction from excise tax for up to $50,000 of reported net income, earning taxpayers a maximum of $3,250 in direct savings for Tennessee businesses
  • $20.3 million for Small Business Franchise Tax Relief that exempts up to $500,000 of property from the franchise tax, giving small- and medium-sized businesses that own property in Tennessee up to $1,250 in tax savings on their annual franchise tax liability
  • $7.9 million for Small Business Relief from the Business Gross Receipts Tax, increasing the filing threshold for business tax from $10,000 to $100,000 to ensure that only businesses with $100,000 of gross receipts or more will be subject to the business tax. This includes funding to hold local jurisdictions harmless.
  • $7.3 million to establish a state paid family leave tax credit against franchise and excise tax for a two-year pilot period that will mirror the federal tax credit

Workforce

  • $370.8 million to update outdated facilities in seven Tennessee College of Applied Technology campuses state-wide
  • $386.2 million to invest in new buildings, expansions and improvements to sixteen current TCAT campuses
  • $147.5 million to build six new TCATs to better serve more students across Tennessee

Family Initiatives

  • $18.7 million to increase the income threshold for pregnant women and caregivers to expand access to TennCare Services
  • $5.2 million to provide 12-month continuous TennCare eligibility for low-income children
  • $4.7 million to permanently extend postpartum health coverage under TennCare
  • $100 million for Crisis Pregnancy Provider Support Grants supporting crisis pregnancy centers statewide, improving access to healthcare and information for expecting mothers
  • $10.25 million for Tennessee Fosters Hope grant funding to elevate high quality care for children and families impacted by foster care and adoption, allowing providers to expand their services to foster and adoptive families
  • $27 million to expand programming for children with complex or special needs that face challenges being placed in a traditional foster or adoptive home by further developing the provider network and providing respite and long-term care
  • $15 million to fund the Summer Youth Employment Program to connect youth and young adults ages 14 to 24 with career exploration opportunities and paid work experiences

Education

  • $350 million in additional funding to local education agencies through Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement (TISA), including $125 M for teacher pay raises
  • $60.8 million to extend summer learning camps and expand eligibility age from 4th grade to Kindergarten through 9th grade
  • $10 million for summer bus transportation
  • $20 million in School Safety Grants to enhance school security
  • $29.7 million for the Tennessee School Safety Initiative, expanding staffing to place at least one Homeland Security Special Agent in each of the state’s 95 counties to provide threat assessments and collaborate with local law enforcement
  • Expanding the Grow Your Own apprenticeship program to help solve teacher shortages, serving 600 new apprenticeship candidates per year
  • Five percent salary pool increase for higher education employees to ensure they attract and retain the best employee base possible

Public Safety

  • Adding 100 Highway Patrol troopers and related support staff and 25 Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Forensic Services staff
  • $30 million addition to the Tennessee Law Enforcement Hiring, Training, and Recruitment Program (year 2)
  • $50 million expansion of the Violent Crime Intervention Fund
  • $357 million for network expansion of the Tennessee Advanced Communication Network (TACN) to transition remaining state agencies into TACN, improve coverage and provide infrastructure grants for local agencies to join TACN
  • $10 million to support successful re-entry by expanding Evidence-Based Programming Grants in prisons and jails with a focus on mental health

Conservation and State Parks

  • $66.5 million for the Natchez Trace Recreation Area, establishing a sportsman’s themed park with a lodge, cabins, campgrounds and a shooting range
  • $28.3 million to create Scott’s Gulf State Park, a 9,000-acre park uniting Virgin Falls State Natural Area with surrounding nature areas into a single wilderness park
  • $30 million to revitalize the Heritage Conservation Trust to support public-private partnerships through a matching grant program
  • $15.4 million for trail infrastructure and development of the Cumberland Trail
  • $10.3 million to address critical gaps along the Wolf River Greenway, a 26-mile paved trail meandering from the Mississippi River to Germantown
  • $6.3 million to expand the Tweetsie Trail in Carter County, connecting four communities, two bike parks and a pedestrian bridge
  • $70 million to TN Clean Initiative, cleaning up state Superfund sites, Oak Ridge and all 47 known dry cleaner sites
  • $6.3 million for the Rural Brownfields Investment Act to revitalize 175 known brownfield sites, creating a new state-administered grant and technical support program for remediation and economic development of existing brownfields
  • $4.7 million grant funding to improve local water quality by optimizing wastewater treatment plants, collaborating with agricultural partners to practice best management principles and supporting cities with reduction of nutrients in stormwater

Asset Management

  • $1.7 billion to address capital improvements and maintenance, including Tennessee State Parks and TCATs
  • Ensuring more than $2.8 billion of recurring revenue is allocated to one-time expenditures, allowing the return of these resources for review and budgeting next fiscal year

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