NASHVILLE – The 112th Tennessee General Assembly app gives Tennesseans interested in government and politics a powerful tool for connecting with lawmakers.

Tennessee legislators will return to Nashville on Jan. 12 for the first session of the 112th Tennessee General Assembly. During this year’s session lawmakers will consider legislation that can have an impact on Tennessee families and businesses. That makes it important to stay informed and, at times, reach out to your elected officials.

The Tennessee General Assembly app features a continually updated, searchable database of contact, staff and committee information as well as district maps, photos, leadership roles and social media profiles for members of the Tennessee House and Senate. It also contains information on the governor and his cabinet and the Tennessee congressional delegation.

The app was developed through a partnership between the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association and Bass, Berry & Sims PLC. TECA has published an annual directory of the General Assembly for more than 50 years. “Each year, we collect and maintain information on legislators, and we believe that all Tennesseans should have easy access to this information for their lawmakers,” says David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “The app makes it easier than ever to connect with your elected representatives.”

The free app is available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices and can be found by searching for “Tennessee General Assembly” in the Apple App Store or Google PLAY Marketplace.

PVEC’s Coppock

New Tazewell, TENN. – Powell Valley Electric Cooperative Board of Directors has named Brad Coppock, senior engineer, as the cooperative’s next general manager effective March 1, 2021.

Current general manager and CEO Randell W. Meyers recently announced his upcoming retirement effective February 28, 2021.  Meyers has served the cooperative since 1964. He was named general manager in 1992 and later general manager and CEO.

Mr. Coppock is a graduate of Horace Maynard High School in Union County, Tennessee and a 2001 graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, with a degree in computer engineering. He has held a Professional Engineer license since 2013. Mr. Coppock has been employed with the cooperative for 19 years, serving as engineer until 2013 when he was promoted to senior engineer. While in college he was a co-op student with the cooperative for two summers.

Mr. Coppock is a resident of New Tazewell, Tennessee, where he resides with his wife and three children.

“We appreciate Randell’s 57 years of dedicated service to the co-op, with the last 28 doing an outstanding job as our general manager,” said Board President Roger Ball on behalf of the PVEC Board. “We look forward to working with Brad. He is well qualified for the position and we know he will do a great job.”

“We congratulate Mr. Meyers on his retirement,” said David Callis, executive vice president and general manager for TECA. “Thousands of businesses and families in the Powell Valley region depend on the critical services that the co-op provides, and we look forward to working with Brad and the team at PVEC.”

 

Baby, it’s cold outside! When you’re feeling chilly at home, there are several budget-friendly ways you can keep comfortable without turning up the thermostat.

Here are five easy ways to stay cozy this winter.

  1. Whether you’re experiencing extremely cold winter temps or you simply “run cold,” an electric blanket can deliver quick warmth like a regular throw or blanket cannot. Electric blankets can include a variety of features, like timers and dual temperature settings (if your cuddle buddy prefers less heat). This winter, consider an electric blanket instead of turning up the heat, and your energy bill will thank you.
  2. One of the easiest ways to stay cozy at home is to keep your feet warm. Our feet play a critical role in regulating body temperature, so when your feet are warm, your body automatically feels warmer. Try a pair of comfortable wool socks or house slippers to stay toasty.
  3. On winter days when the sun is shining, take advantage and harness natural warmth from sunlight. Open all curtains, drapes and blinds in your home to let the sunshine in––you’ll be able to feel the difference.
  4. Another way to make your home cozier is to use a humidifier. Cold air doesn’t hold water vapor like warm air, so by adding humidity inside your home, you can feel a little warmer. A favorable level of humidity inside your home can also help clear sinuses, soften skin and improve sleep.
  5. Beyond adding visual appeal to your home, area rugs can also provide extra insulation and a warm surface for your feet on cold winter days. Use large area rugs in rooms where you spend the most time. You’ll enjoy the new colors and textures of the rug, and the additional warmth will help keep your home comfortable.

These are just a few ways you can stay cozy this winter without turning up the thermostat. Don’t forget the hot chocolate!

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

 

100% renewable electricity for homes and small businesses

No doubt about it – renewable green energy options are important to an increasing number of people around the globe.

“We want to give our members more options when it comes to purchasing renewable energy, and we’re excited to add Green Switch 100 to our offerings,” said MTE’s Distributed Energy Resources Coordinator Tim Suddoth.

According to Suddoth, Green Switch 100 gives residential members of the cooperative as well as small businesses in rate classes GSA-1 and GSA-2 the option to offset 100% of their monthly electric usage with renewable energy at a low cost.

“For an extra one cent per kilowatt hour, we will do all the leg work to ensure that your monthly energy usage is offset by renewable energy, generated right here in the Tennessee Valley,” reported Suddoth. “So, if you used say 1,350 kilowatt hours of electricity for the month, it would only cost $13.50 to ensure those 1,350 kilowatt hours would be sourced from Valley renewables.”

The mix of renewables, Suddoth says, includes 80% solar, 10% wind and 10% biogas generation, all produced by TVA in the Valley and Green-e Energy certified.

“It is easy, low-cost and local. For people who would like to support green energy in the area yet don’t want to make a long-term commitment, Green Switch 100 is a great option.”

Suddoth explained there is no contract to sign and customers can cancel at any time.

MTE is partnering with TVA and only one other utility out of 153 local power companies in the Valley – Knoxville Utilities Board. Currently, Green Switch 100 will run as a 12-month pilot program to see how it goes.

“We’re hoping the pilot is a success and that Green Switch 100 becomes a permanent part of our menu of renewable energy offerings. We’re always looking for ways to meet our members’ requests for renewable green energy, and we believe this is one of the best options offered for renewable energy,” said Suddoth.

To get signed up or learn more, Suddoth says to visit www.mtemc.com/GreenSwitch100, or you can email him at tim.suddoth@mtemc.com.

The holiday season is special because it’s a time when families and friends gather to share meals, gifts, love and laughter. But the season also comes with the need to take extra precautions so that the holidays don’t turn tragic. 

Holiday lighting and decor help add to the festive atmosphere and brighten up cold winter nights, but they require some extra care. 

  • When you pull your holiday lights out of storage each year, be sure to check the cords and plugs for any cracks or other damage. If there are any bare or frayed wires, discard the entire cord. Damaged wires create a significant hazard for electric shock and fires. 
  • Make sure all your lights work, and connect the strands before stringing them on your tree, house or elsewhere. Don’t adjust the strings while plugged in once they are in place. Also make sure they have been tested by Underwriters Laboratories (look for a UL label). 
  • If you are using lights outdoors, make sure they are rated for outdoor use. Use a three-prong, grounded extension cord to connect them. Two-prong extension cords are for indoor use only; never use them outdoors. 
  • Do not leave lights on and plugged in when you go to sleep or leave home. 
  • LED lights are a better option because of their longevity as well as the fact they burn much cooler than other types of lights. Make sure the bulbs are not resting directly on tree branches or other surfaces. 
  • If you have a live tree, be sure to keep it watered so it doesn’t dry out and become an increased risk for fire. If you choose an artificial tree, make sure it is rated as flame-resistant. 
  • If you have pets or small children, make sure cords and easily ingestible decorations are out of their reach. 
  • Do not place cords under rugs or doors, and don’t run them through windows.  
  • Do not overload outlets or circuits.  

By adhering to these safety tips, you’ll help ensure your holiday season is as safe as it is festive. 

The holiday season is finally upon us, and Santa and his elves have been especially busy as they gear up for their biggest night of the year.  

It’s no secret that Santa is known for running an efficient workshop  how else could he make all those toys in time for Christmas Eve? Rumor has it that one way Santa ensures an efficient workspace is through energy-saving measures.  

Here are four ways Santa saves energy in his workshop. 

  1. Unlike the rest of us, Santa leaves his decorations up year-round. By using LED holiday light strands, he’s able to save on his monthly energy bills. LED holiday strands can last up to 40 seasons, which make them a great option for any festive home.  
  2. Santa requires power tools to make a year’s worth of new toys. That’s why he insists on using cordless power tools with the Energy Star rating. According to energystar.gov, if all power tools in the U.S. used Energy Star-rated battery chargers, 2 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity could be saved — that’s equivalent to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 1.7 million tons!  
  3. Mrs. Claus loves to keep warm by the fire in the evenings, and Santa knows one of the best tricks to ensure fireplace efficiency. While a fireplace can keep a small area of your home cozy and warm, it can also pull heated air from the room through the chimney. That’s why Santa always closes the fireplace flue when a fire isn’t burning.  
  4. Santa also saves energy by using power strips. They’re ideal for workshops, craft nooks, game rooms and other spaces in your home. With one simple switch, you can conveniently control several devices and electronics that are plugged into the power strip.  

This holiday season, let’s take a page from Santa’s book and remember to save energy when possible. With these four tips, you’ll be well on your way to savings (and, hopefully, Santa’s “nice” list!).  

Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association holds virtual annual meeting

NASHVILLE – “Building a Brighter Tennessee” was the theme of the 79th annual meeting of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association held Monday, Nov. 23. Though the event was held online, it allowed co-op leaders from across the state to receive industry and legislative updates and hear from Sen. Lamar Alexander and Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee.

“I would like to thank each one of you for all you do for the 2.5 million homes, farms and businesses in rural and suburban Tennessee,” said Alexander in a video address to Tennessee co-ops. “Because of you, the lights stay on, our homes stay warm and cool and Tennesseans have even more access to the internet. You provide Tennesseans with electricity and service that are both reliable and affordable.”

Lee commended electric co-ops for their service to rural Tennessee. “The success of rural Tennessee is a priority that I share with you, and I see electric cooperatives playing a key role in accelerating the transformation of rural communities,” said Lee. “Thank you for your continued innovation and partnership as we work together to build a brighter Tennessee.

Also addressing the membership during the virtual meeting were Phillip Fulmer, athletic director and former head football coach for the University of Tennessee, and David Wasserman, house editor for the non-partisan Cook Political Report.

Co-ops are “building a brighter Tennessee” through investments in energy, broadband, education and community that create a solid foundation for future growth, development and prosperity. Rural Tennessee is stronger, more resilient and better prepared for the future thanks to the work of electric co-ops.

Addressing the membership during the President and General Manager’s Report, Kevin Murphy, CEO of Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation and board chair of TECA, highlighted the impact that co-op investment has on the people and places they serve. “Despite the uncertainties we face, it is safe to say that Tennessee’s future looks bright, and the work we do will play an important role in that future.”

TECA General Manager David Callis thanked electric co-op employees for their service during this difficult year. “As so much of the country shut down, co-ops went to work,” said Callis. “To each co-op employee who stepped up and did what needed to be done this year – possibly putting the well-being of yourself and your family at risk in the process – we salute you. In a time of darkness and fear, our employees provided light, hope, comfort and connection when it was needed most.”

Prior to the virtual meeting, an online business session and election was held to appoint new members to the association’s board of trustees. Elected to four-year terms were Richard Lacher, director for Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative; Paul Thompson, CEO of Tri-County Electric Membership Corporation; and Hugh Rogers, director for Tri-State Electric Membership Corporation.

“We congratulate those selected to serve in leadership positions,” said Callis. “Your input, feedback and guidance help the association better meet the needs of our co-ops, and we are grateful for the board’s service.”

The TECA Top Tenn Communications Awards were also announced during the event. Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative received an award for Best External Newsletter or Magazine Section; Appalachian Electric Cooperative, Best Internal Newsletter; Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative, Best Website; Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation, Best Use of Social Media; and Fayetteville Public Utilities, Best Video. Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative, Appalachian Electric Cooperative  and Gibson Electric Membership Corporation received Awards of Excellence in the Wild Card category.

“We are the people who build stuff,” said Callis. “We build infrastructure. We build connections. We build hope and opportunity. Electric co-ops build a brighter Tennessee.”

The virtual meeting and additional content will be available on the TECA website through the end of December. Visit tnelectric.org/am2020 to learn more.

Nashville, TENN. – More than 130 employees from 15 electric co-ops in Tennessee are assisting with power restoration efforts after Hurricane Zeta left more than 2.6 million without power in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas. Zeta came ashore Wednesday as a strong Category 2 hurricane before bringing heavy rains and winds across the southeast.

“Unfortunately, this was not our first hurricane this year,” said David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. Crews from Tennessee also assisted following Hurricanes Laura and Sally earlier this fall. “Those who volunteer know what they are signing up for – long days and difficult conditions – but they still want to go. Their desire to assist others in need is inspiring, and we ask all Tennesseans to remember them in your thoughts and prayers while they are away.”

Statewide trade associations like the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association coordinate mutual aid assistance for co-ops in their respective states. When a state determines that it needs assistance, requests are made to surrounding states. The statewide organizations in those states work with their local co-ops to organize crews and make arrangements for lodging and food. Working out details ahead of time allows crews to respond quickly when a need arises.

Traveling to Georgia are

  • eight lineworkers from Fayetteville Public Utilities assisting Amicalola Electric Membership Corporation in Jasper
  • nine lineworkers from Holston Electric Cooperative in Rogersville assisting Amicalola Electric Membership Corporation in Jasper
  • five lineworkers from Plateau Electric Cooperative in Onieda assisting Habersham Electric Membership Corporation in Clarkesville
  • 20 lineworkers from Middle Tennessee Electric in Murfreesboro assisting Cobb Electric Membership Corporation in Marietta
  • six lineworkers from Duck River Electric Membership Corporation in Shelbyville assisting North Georgia Electric Membership Corporation in Dalton
  • six lineworkers from Ft. Loudoun Electric Cooperative in Vonore assisting Tri-State Electric Membership Corporation in Blue Ridge
  • six lineworkers from Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative in South Pittsburg assisting Tri-State Electric Membership Corporation in Blue Ridge
  • 12 lineworkers from Volunteer Energy Cooperative in Dacatur assisting Amicalola Electric Membership Corporation in Jasper
  • nine lineworkers from Mountain Electric Cooperative in Mountain City assisting Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corporation in Young Harris

Traveling to Alabama are

  • 10 lineworkers from Chickasaw Electric Cooperative in Somerville assisting Coosa Valley Electric Cooperative in Talladega
  • five lineworkers from Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative in Centerville assisting Southern Pine Electric Cooperative in Brewton
  • 19 lineworkers from Cumberland  Electric Membership Cooperative in Clarksville assisting Pioneer Electric Cooperative in Greenville
  • five lineworkers from Pickwick Electric Cooperative assisting Southern Pine Electric Cooperative in Brewton
  • nine lineworkers from Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Cooperative in Cookeville assisting Black Warrior Electric Membership Corporation in Demopolis

Traveling to North Carolina are

  • nine lineworkers from Powell Valley Electric Cooperative in New Tazewell assisting Energy United in Statesville

Nashville, TENN. – More than 400 electric co-op employees participated in the 2020 Tennessee Electric Cooperative Day of Service on Thursday, Oct. 15. Twenty-six individual service projects were completed across the state with 422 employees from 12 electric co-ops volunteering more than 800 hours in service to their local communities. This year’s projects included food and clothing drives, landscaping and various efforts to support healthcare providers and educators.

“Electric co-ops serve their communities every day by keeping the lights on, but the Day of Service takes it a step further,” says Trent Scott, TECA’s vice president of corporate strategy and organizer of the event. “It has been a difficult year, and co-op employees truly care about the places that they live and work. Their compassion was demonstrated through the innovative projects completed this year.”

Sponsors for the 2020 Day of Service were Bass, Berry and Sims, Silicon Ranch, National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation, CT Consultants, Magellan Advisors, HomeServe and The Tennessee Magazine.

In the four-year history of the Day of Service event, 1,458 employees have volunteered more than 3,900 hours to complete 101 individual projects in co-op communities across the state.

Co-ops participating in the 2020 Day of Service and the projects they completed were:

  • Chickasaw Electric Cooperative – assisted with the Fayette Cares Food and Toy Drive
  • Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation – organized a virtual food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank
  • Fayetteville Public Utilities – delivered gift bags to residents in local assisted living and nursing facilities
  • Fort Loudoun Electric Cooperative – organized a food drive for local charities
  • Gibson Electric Membership Corporation – organized a school supply drive for Trimble Elementary School in Dyer County
  • Holston Electric Cooperative – delivered Meals on Wheels for residents in Hawkins County
  • Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative – organized food drives in Hohenwald, Linden, Waverly and Erin and constructed and installed a “Blessing Box” at the co-op’s Centerville office
  • Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation – provided lunch for teachers in Rockvale, landscaping for a nonprofit in Murfreesboro, and assistance to a food bank in Smyrna
  • Pickwick Electric Cooperative – assisted the Jesus Cares Thrift Store and packed and delivered meals for a local backpack program
  • Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association – provided lunch to healthcare workers in the COVID-19 and burn units at Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative – provided lunch for health departments in Marion, Grundy, Sequatchie and Bledsoe counties
  • Volunteer Energy Cooperative – donated food to food banks and a back pack program serving Polk, Meigs, Hamilton, Monterey and White counties

In the photo: Volunteer Energy Cooperative employees donated food to nonprofits serving local communities

Across Tennessee there are 3,500 electric lineworkers who put their lives on the line to bring power to homes, farms, hospitals, schools and factories across the state.

In 2019 the Tennessee’s electric cooperatives worked with state lawmakers to introduce a specialty license plate to honor the important work that Tennessee’s electric lineworkers do each day.

Funds raised through the sale of the Powering Tennessee specialty plates go to the Tennessee Lineworker Lifeline Fund, a nonprofit foundation established to support lineworkers and their families in the event of a serious injury or fatality while on the job.

While we hope that the funds never have to be used, but the foundation is ready to assist lineworkers and their families when tragedy strikes.

The Powering Tennessee specialty plates have been available for just over a year, and already hundreds of motorists in our service area are using the plates. You don’t have to be a lineman to order a plate, and we encourage you to join us in supporting Tennessee’s electric lineworkers. You can learn more about the Powering Tennessee specialty license plate, or learn how to order your own, at poweringtennessee.org.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee’s 23 electric cooperatives contributed $1.65 million to assist their communities during the COVID-19 public health crisis. An additional $388,000 in matching grants was secured through the Tennessee Valley Authority’s COVID-19 Community Care Fund, resulting in total community support of more than $2 million.

The contributions were made to a variety of projects, including support of local nonprofits and food banks, construction of community Wi-Fi hotspots and utility bill assistance.

Throughout the spring and summer, electric co-ops committed to keep the lights on for Tennesseans impacted by the pandemic, and co-ops continue to work with consumers who are struggling to pay their energy bills. Unfortunately, the overall impacts of the pandemic in much of rural and suburban Tennessee have been deep and lasting.

“From financial struggles to health concerns, COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of life,” says David Callis, executive vice president and general manager for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “Co-ops are in a unique position to see and respond to the specific needs of their communities. They care deeply about the people and places they serve.”

More than $1.4 million went to support local food banks and other nonprofits already working in co-op communities to address emergency needs such as food and shelter, but co-ops also found other ways to help.

As the pandemic pushed school, church, work and other activities online, several co-ops utilized their existing broadband networks to develop community Wi-Fi hotspots for their communities.

“The pandemic presented challenges for healthcare, education and commerce, especially in rural areas where internet access is limited,” said Paul Thompson, CEO of Tri-County Electric. “The five Wi-Fi hotspots we installed will ensure that everyone in Trousdale County can take advantage of online educational and healthcare services.”

“Every community that we serve has been affected,” said Keith Carnahan, CEO of Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative. “ We know that the impacts of the pandemic will stretch far into the future, and we are committed to serving our members and meeting the needs of our communities.”

 

The best way to celebrate democracy is by encouraging full participation in public life. That’s why Tennessee’s electric co-ops are supporting National Voter Registration Day on September 22, 2020.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, less than 70% of eligible American citizens of voting age – 18 and over – were registered to vote in 2018. That means that up to 30% have not filed the required applications with their counties, parishes or states of local voter registrar’s offices, which are essential for making our voices as meaningful in American life as they might be.

We’re among thousands of organizations committed to making September 22 the most successful National Voter Registration Day in history, because we believe its goals are more important than ever before. Here’s why:

Unusual Year-Unexpected Changes

While 2020 began as a very active political year, disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic concerns altered the campaign plans of many candidates. They also dramatically reduced overall access to voter registration forms through department of motor vehicle offices, public libraries and schools.

Suspension of on-site classes at many high schools prevented guidance counselors and government teachers from passing out registration applications to students who reached voting age this spring and summer.

Voter education efforts by churches or by state and local officials who normally would have booked space at community events to encourage community outreach found many of those events scaled back or canceled throughout spring and summer.

Lingering concerns about a resurgence of COVID-19 cases this autumn continue to fuel uncertainties on exactly how polling locations will operate or just how states and other jurisdictions will handle absentee and mail-in balloting.

The Challenge Ahead

“According to the PEW Charitable Trust’s state-by-state comparison of voter turnout for the 2014 midterm elections, Tennessee was dead last at just 28.5 percent,” said Trent Scott, vice president of corporate strategy with the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “Increasing overall participation in the election process begins with registering as many eligible voters as possible.”

That’s the goal of National Voter Registration Day. Recognized as a civic holiday since 2012, the annual event has served as a rallying point for voter registration initiatives supported by a network of nonpartisan organizations committed to increasing overall participation in the electoral process.

“Voting is central to American democracy,” said Laura Vogel, a senior political affairs advisor at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. “That’s why many electric cooperatives and their statewide associations are committed to making this year’s National Voter Registration Day the most successful event ever.”

Vogel, who represents electric co-ops on the National Voter Registration Day steering committee has worked with co-ops in [State] and throughout the nation to help develop new and effective ways to encourage co-op members to participate in local, state and national politics.

“Since 2012, National Voter Registration Day awareness efforts have helped to register more than 3 million voters,” said Vogel. “This year, we’re putting even more emphasis on digital engagement, because 41 states and the District of Columbia allow voters to register online.”

Many electric co-ops are using their social media pages to promote voter registration, and encouraging political engagement with articles in their newsletters, on their websites and with bill attachments or point of contact brochures and leaflets.

“More than 20,000 volunteers are committed to promotion of National Voter Registration Day,” said Vogel. “In the weeks ahead, electric co-ops will be promoting webinars on digital organizing and working closely with community organizations and businesses that are likely to remain open even if a resurgence of COVID-19 pandemic concerns occurs this autumn.”

“National Voter Registration Day is a great opportunity for us all to begin focusing on the most important aspects of this political season,” said Scott.  “This nonpartisan program promotes participation, and that includes ensuring that those who are registered to vote stay abreast of any changes that we might see in how to legally cast ballots in our state on election day.”

Remember to mark your calendar for National Voter Registration Day on September 22, and together, let’s enjoy the rights and opportunities we all share as Americans and celebrate our democracy. To learn more about National Voter Registration Day, visit www.nationalvoterregistrationday.org.

Derrill Holly writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56 percent of the nation’s landscape.

NASHVILLE – Sixty-eight volunteer lineworkers from seven electric co-ops across Tennessee are heading to Alabama to assist with Hurricane Sally recovery efforts.

The Category 2 hurricane brought strong wind, significant rainfall and widespread power outages to the Alabama Gulf Coast. Tennessee co-ops are assisting with efforts to reconstruct the severely damaged electric infrastructure in the region.

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

Assisting Baldwin Electric Membership Corporation in Summerdale, Alabama, are:

  • Seven lineworkers from Chickasaw Electric Cooperative in Somerville
  • Five from Ft. Loudoun Electric Cooperative in Vonore
  • Five from Mountain Electric Cooperative in Mountain City
  • 21 from Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation in Murfreesboro
  • Five from Pickwick Electric Cooperative in Selmer
  • 13 from Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation in Carthage
  • 12 from Volunteer Energy Cooperative in Decatur

NASHVILLE – The Cooperative Communicators Association and the Statewide Editors Association recognized the communication efforts of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association in the past week.

The Cooperative Communicators Association, an organization of co-op communicators from all sectors, announced its communication awards on Tuesday, Sept. 15. Highlights of the CCA awards include Cover of the Year to The Tennessee Magazine, Photographer of the Year to Robin Conover, and Best Long-Term Campaign to Trent Scott for TECA’s 2019 Power and Opportunity Campaign. TECA competed against national brands like Dairy Farmers of America, GROWMARK, CoBank and FarmCredit.

The Statewide Editors Association, a national network of electric cooperative statewide magazine editors, announced its annual communication awards during a ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 10.

“We are honored to be recognized by our electric co-op peers,” says David Callis, executive vice president and general manager for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “Communications is a critical part of our work as co-ops. We are fortunate to have a talented and effective team of professional communicators here at TECA, and they take pride in sharing the stories of electric co-ops and the rural communities they serve.”


Awards presented by the Cooperative Communicators Association

Awards presented to the TECA Communications Department were:

  • The Tennessee Magazine was awarded Cover of the Year
  • 2nd place, Programs & Projects, Promotional Video, for the 2019 Washington Youth Tour video
  • 1st place, Publications, Brochures, Pamphlets and One-Time Publications, for the 2019 Tennessee Magazine media kit

Awards presented to Robin Conover were:

  • Robin Conover was awarded Photographer of the Year
  • 2nd place, Photography, Portrait, for Wilson Fly
  • 1st place, Photography, Scenic/Pictorial, for Fog at Sunrise
  • 2nd place, Photography, Scenic/Pictorial, for Smelling the Flowers
  • 3rd place, Photography, Scenic/Pictorial, for Little River
  • 1st place, Photography, Photo Feature, for Sparks Fly
  • 2nd place, Photography, Photo Feature, for Fly General Store
  • 1st place, Photography, Photo Feature, for Welding at Ermco
  • 1st place, Photography, Smartphone, for Washington Youth Tour
  • 3rd place, Photography, Photo Illustration, for Dressed for the Season
  • 1st place, Photography, Photo Essay or Story, for Santa Fe – The Place to Be
  • 2nd place, Best use of Photos in a Publication, for The Tennessee Magazine
  • 2nd place, Publications, Words and Pictures, for Santa Fe
  • 3rd place, Writing, Column or Series, for Point of View

Awards presented to Trent Scott were:

  • 1st place, Programs and Projects, Campaigns and Programs Long-term, for TECA’s Power & Opportunity campaign
  • Honorable Mention, Programs and Projects, Website, for tnelectric.org

Awards presented by the Statewide Editors Association

  • Gold Award, Best Historical Feature, Scopes Trial, to Bill Carey
  • Merit Award, Best Personality Feature, Santa Fe The Place to Be, to Robin Conover
  • Merit Award, Best Column, Point of View, to Robin Conover
  • Gold Award, Best Digital Communication, tnmagazine.org, to Trent Scott

 

Outdoor lighting can have a significant impact on safety and security for both homes and businesses. As the days get shorter and the nights longer, this is a great time to consider outdoor lighting options from your local electric cooperative.

Contact your local office for more information on outdoor lighting. Improving lighting is a low-cost way to significantly improve the safety, security and overall comfort of your home, business or church. Effective lighting can bring the light of day to the darkest nights.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Sept. 9, 2020) – Seventy-nine lineworkers from across Tennessee are traveling to Louisiana today to assist with recovery and reconstruction following Hurricane Laura, a powerful Category 4 storm that struck the Gulf Coast on Aug. 27. These workers will replace workers from two Tennessee co-ops who have been in Louisiana since shortly after the storm hit.

“The current recovery is going to be long,” said Jeffrey Arnold, CEO of the Association of Louisiana Electric Cooperatives. “We cannot give co-op members an estimate of time other than ‘weeks’ at this moment because of the number of transmission poles and towers that are down and the time and effort it will take to rebuild the power grid.”

Returning home are 18 lineworkers from Plateau Electric Cooperative and Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation who have been assisting Jeff Davis Electric Cooperative in Jennings, Louisiana.

Traveling to assist Jeff David Electric Cooperative in Jennings, Louisiana, are:

  • 10 lineworkers from Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation in Brownsville

Assisting Beauregard Electric Cooperative in DeRidder, Louisiana, are:

  • 11 lineworkers from Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation in Clarksville
  • Five lineworkers from Duck River Electric Membership Corporation in Shelbyville
  • 10 lineworkers from Holston Electric Cooperative in Rogersville
  • Five lineworkers from Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative in Centerville
  • 21 lineworkers from Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation in Murfreesboro
  • Six lineworkers from Mountain Electric Cooperative in Mountain City
  • 10 lineworkers from Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative in South Pittsburg

 


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 31, 2020) – Eighteen lineworkers from two Tennessee electric cooperatives are in Louisiana to assist with Hurricane Laura recovery efforts. The powerful hurricane left massive amounts of destruction after it made landfall last week.

“Our crews have a reputation for responding quickly, working safely and showing compassion to those who are in need,” says David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Associaiton. “We commend their desire to serve and wish them well in the days to come.”

Crews will be assisting Jeff Davis Electric Cooperative in Jennings, La. Following the storm, JDEC reported that 100 percent of the co-op’s 11,000 meters were without power and more than 1,000 poles had been broken. Tennessee crews are expected to be in Louisiana for seven to 10 days before being replaced with additional Tennessee crews.

“Hurricane Laura left catastrophic damage in its wake,” said Mike Heinen of JDEC. “In response, we’ve launched a massive storm recovery and power restoration effort, assisted by hundreds of personnel from other states. Even so, a full recovery could be weeks away.”

Please keep the people of coastal Louisiana, as well as our volunteer lineworkers and their families, in your thoughts and prayers in the days ahead.

Below is a list of Tennessee co-ops providing assistance. This information is likely to change as crews are replaced in the coming weeks.

  • Plateau Electric Cooperative in Onieda, Tenn. – eight lineworkers
  • Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation in Brownsville, Tenn. – 10 lineworkers

 

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today the TVA Board of Directors approved a special $200 million Pandemic Relief Credit for the coming fiscal year. The 2.5% base rate credit will begin in October and remain in effect through most of 2021 for local power companies – including electric cooperatives – served by TVA.

“On behalf of Tennessee’s electric cooperatives, we applaud TVA’s decision to provide $200 million in Pandemic Relief Credits,” said David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “Electric co-ops and the homes, businesses and communities we serve face extreme challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The region’s economy is fragile, and the future remains uncertain. Today’s announcement is a positive move that will provide needed relief for many. Co-ops exist to provide power, but in reality, we exist to serve our consumers and our communities. As our wholesale power provider and public power partner, it is essential that TVA shares our vision for reliable power, affordable rates and a vibrant Tennessee economy. We appreciate TVA for providing these resources that will assist the entire region.”

“The continued impact of this pandemic on our communities is unprecedented and creates continued economic uncertainty,” said Jeff Lyash, TVA president and CEO. “Because of the TVA team’s strong operational and financial performance under challenging circumstances this past year, we have an opportunity and responsibility to use TVA’s resources and expertise to provide continued support for customers, businesses and communities.”

Our nation’s farmers have worked for generations in fields across the country. They have seen first-hand how farming equipment has improved over the decades to increase efficiency and to feed an ever-growing population.

A major new change for farming equipment is the trend of switching fossil fuel-powered farming equipment towards electric farming equipment. This trend builds on the idea of beneficial electrification, where switching to an electric end-use technology satisfies at least one of the following conditions with adversely affecting the others: saving consumers money over time, benefiting the environment, improving product quality or consumer quality of life, and fostering a more robust and resilient grid.

Historically, the most common form of electrification for farms has been electric irrigation pumping systems. Irrigation systems are crucial for many farmers and can make or break the crop yield for the entire year. Water heaters are the second most-used forms of electric technology on farms. They can be used for many different purposes, like in dairy farm processing, sterilizing equipment and general cleaning. Choosing an electric water heater for the right application depends on efficiency, size, recovery speed and peak temperature.

There are many benefits of replacing diesel motors with electric motors. Highly efficient electric motors can operate at 90% efficiency, which helps to provide cost savings over time, compared to inefficient diesel motors that only operate at 30% to 40% efficiency. Farmers can simply plug in the electric equipment without needing to refill a diesel tank. One of the greatest benefits of electric motors is they do not emit fumes like diesel motors, which means farmers get to breathe in cleaner air around them. Overall, electric motors are cleaner, quieter and easier to maintain. Some farmers are making the switch to electric tractors as companies like John Deere, AgCo and other companies continue to perfect their own electric models. While electric tractors are more efficient, quieter and better for the environment than conventional diesel tractors, they lack the battery power that many farmers need for a long day of working in the fields.

But the largest barrier of converting to electric technologies is the cost. Both the price of the electric technology itself and for the wiring to connect it to the entire farm can be extremely costly. Even with savings on fuel costs over time, farmers will be reluctant to replace their farming equipment because of high initial costs. However, there are federal and local government programs that can help to lessen the upfront costs for farmers. Electric cooperatives can also help farmers in their local territory with energy audits to identify energy efficiency opportunities, or with applying for funding from federal programs such as the Rural Energy Savings Program (RESP) or the Rural Business Development Grants (RBDG).

Besides electric irrigation systems and water heaters, the availability of other electric farming technologies is much less common, such as grain dryers, thermal electric storage systems and heat pumps. Many of these electric technologies are still in the early stages of commercialization and have not fully entered the agricultural market. The accessibility of these other technologies will depend on a variety of factors, like the type of farm, electricity prices versus fossil fuel prices, and any incentives to decrease upfront costs for buying new equipment. Despite these challenges, there are opportunities for expansion, especially for electric tractors and other electric farm vehicles which are used on many different types of farms. With more time and investment, electric farming equipment will likely become more widespread in the coming years.

Maria Kanevsky is a program analyst for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56 percent of the nation’s landscape.

We all know the internet can be dangerous and scary, and we’ve all seen the lists of ideas for better cybersecurity.

The problem is, cybersecurity tips aren’t helpful unless we act on them. Sure, we should use long passwords and change them regularly—but will we really do that?

This article includes four tips for making yourself safer from cyber scammers and hackers, but first, let’s look at a few reasons that might encourage you to put those tips into action.

Be afraid. Be very afraid. Bad things really can happen on the internet. A smooth-talking con artist on the end of the phone can charm or bully you into revealing your Social Security Number or credit card number, or malware can monitor your keyboard and capture your password to your favorite website. Criminals use this information to access your credit cards and bank accounts, especially if you use the same password for multiple accounts. Children can also be victimized by cyberbullying. Think about what’s on your computer or your smartphone that you don’t want to lose or give away. Keeping those dangers top of mind can help motivate you to take small steps to prevent them.

Make your own rules. When you see a good cyber safety tip but don’t think you’ll really take the advice, figure out a way you might be able to put it into action. Maybe you’re the kind of person who pays attention to a reminder note on your refrigerator. Maybe you know you won’t keep track of different passwords on all your internet-connected devices, but you might be more likely to regularly update a strong password on the server in your home—that can be a good option if all your connections are coming through that one point of entry.

The time is now. Experts warn of a triple-threat these days. First, scammers are taking advantage of COVID-19 uncertainty, from offering phony cures and tests, to promises of financial assistance. Second, with more people working from home due to social distancing, there may be fewer office-based security measures in place. Third, the FBI warns that increased use of mobile banking offers more chances for cybercrime. And if you’re the sort of person who thinks in terms of months, October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which can be a great time to act on this year’s theme, “Do your part #BeCyberSmart—If You Connect It, Protect It.”

So, here are four cybersecurity tips to keep you safe:

Use strong passwords

And change them regularly—many sites and apps make that easy to do by clicking on the “forgot your password” link. The best passwords are at least eight characters and include different types of characters—try using a memorable verse from your favorite song and adding a few numbers and special characters, ($ ! _ &) or even a space. If you are like most people, remembering all your passwords is a challenge. Chose a security option based on the value of what you’re protecting. The options you use to secure your bank and retirement account passwords might be different than how you store your social media passwords. Password apps keep them in one place and may be a great option for some passwords, but you can be in big trouble if you forget the password that lets you into that app. Keeping passwords on paper or a in notebook might be more secure than using the same password for everything, depending on how secure and hidden that paper is from other people at the office or kids at home.

Install software updates

Your apps and operating systems will periodically send updates. Install them—they often include protections against the latest security threats. But remember, those updates come from the apps and not from emails or social media notices. An email containing an update may be a scam—instead of clicking on the link, go to the app’s website to see if there really are updates available.

Use two-factor authentication

That phrase is just a fancy word for a technique that adds an extra layer of security in addition to a password. Banks increasingly use this system—when you try to connect with them, the bank may text a code number to your phone that you type in to complete the sign-in process for your account. Keep in mind that answering a security question is similar to having a password––both are something you know. Answering a security question won’t provide the same level of additional security as that of a second factor. A second factor will be something you have, like your phone to receive a passcode, or something you are, like a biometric fingerprint, in addition to something you know, like a password or security question.

Think before you click

Be wary of any offer or link that comes through the internet, whether by email or social media, or even a phone call instructing you to get online. Don’t click on a link unless you know for certain what it is. Ideally, you should be expecting to receive the link. Even emails from friends should be suspect—hackers can impersonate someone you know to send a link or an attachment—both can result in you downloading malware that can take control of your computer in ways you may not even be able to detect. If you have any doubt, whether it’s a link to a software update or an attachment to a funny cat video, give the sender a phone call to find out if they really sent it or if it’s a scam.

To take advantage of the great promise of the internet, we must also recognize the peril. These are relatively simple steps you can take now to keep yourself reasonably safe.

 

Nashville – State officials on Friday awarded $61 million in emergency broadband grants, with $40 million going to Tennessee’s electric co-ops. The grants were awarded through the recently created Tennessee Emergency Broadband Fund.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us that broadband is essential for modern life,” said Mike Knotts, vice president of government affairs with the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “From telemedicine and distance learning to telecommuting and e–commerce, Tennessee’s rural communities must have reliable and affordable access to high–speed internet. Families and businesses in rural communities unfortunately understand what life is like without internet access, so today’s announcement is welcomed news.”

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development worked with the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association and other stakeholders to develop the Tennessee Emergency Broadband Fund using a portion of resources allocated to Tennessee through the Coronavirus Relief Fund. Recipients must utilize the funds before the end of 2020.

Nearly 70 percent of the funds awarded went to electric cooperatives. “When the state asked ‘Who can build rural broadband quickly?’ they turned to electric co-ops,” said Knotts. “Tennessee’s co-ops are demonstrating their ability to expand access quickly and leverage grant funds for maximum impact. We appreciate the trust and confidence Governor Lee has placed in us through today’s announcement.”

Tennessee’s electric co-ops will immediately begin construction on 29 separate projects to bring broadband to locations that currently do not have access. These projects will enable tens of thousands of people in some of the most remote parts of the state to participate in modern work, education and commerce. Broadband expansion will also improve Tennessee’s ability to respond to current and future public health emergencies.