Dyersburg – Sen. Bill Hagerty met with Arkansas and Tennessee co-op leaders Monday at the ERMCO distribution transformer manufacturing plant in Dyersburg, Tenn., to discuss how global supply chain disruptions and labor shortages have impacted critical infrastructure.

Distribution transformers like the ones made by cooperative-owned ERMCO are an essential component to the power grid. Transformers convert high voltage power into something that can be safely managed inside a home or business. Every home, farm and business in Tennessee depends on transformers for the reliable and safe delivery of energy.

Global supply chain issues and labor shortages have created challenges for ERMCO to meet skyrocketing demand for their products. “Demand is simply outpacing our ability to manufacture transformers,” says Tim Mills, President and CEO of ERMCO. “2020 and 2021 were both record years in terms of production, but we are turning away about 40 percent of our orders because we don’t have the capacity to fulfill them.”

“Labor is our greatest need,” says Jeff Hammons, COO of ERMCO. “We have 70 unfilled positions on our production line now. We have space to add additional lines, but we are not confident that we could find qualified labor to run them.”

During his visit, Sen. Hagerty toured the ERMCO facility and participated in an extended conversation about supply chain issues and their impact on the power grid.

“As was made strikingly clear by my visit to ERMCO, stable supply chains are key to secure critical infrastructure, including electric distribution,” says Sen. Hagerty. “The gravity of the supply chain-electric distribution relationship affirms the need for legislative solutions that address today’s supply chain crisis and prevent new disruptions going forward.”

Thanks to the efforts of ERMCO and other suppliers, Tennessee’s electric co-ops have managed supply chain disruptions with limited impact to consumers. “We have been fortunate so far, but we are one ice storm or tornado outbreak away from real issues,” says Trent Scott, vice president of corporate strategy for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, “ It is a serious situation, and we appreciate Sen. Hagerty and our co-op partners at ERMCO for their efforts to develop meaningful solutions.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRENTON, Tenn. — Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced today that Gibson Electric Membership Corporation has been awarded a grant of $4,650,880 through the Kentucky Broadband Deployment Program.  The grant will help build a broadband infrastructure to make high-speed, fiber-based internet service available to 1,763 Gibson EMC member-owners in Kentucky.

“We are thrilled that we will receive Kentucky Broadband Deployment Program funds for this important project,” said Dan Rodamaker, President and CEO of Gibson Electric Membership Corporation and Gibson Connect (Gibson EMC’s broadband subsidiary).  “Our member-owners desperately need high-speed, fiber-based internet service; and it will vastly improve the quality of life in our communities by providing opportunities for education, healthcare, jobs, entertainment and more. We sincerely thank all those who have made the grant possible and particularly Governor Andy Beshear, our legislators and members of the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority,” Rodamaker said.  “We also are grateful to our local leadership for their support and to our members for their patience as we have worked to provide broadband service as economically as possible.”

Rodamaker said Gibson EMC and Gibson Connect anticipate being able to start construction mid-July, after receiving the grant parameters and signing the grant contract. “We’ll communicate more details about the buildout soon,” he said.

“Access to high-speed internet service is truly transformational,” said Rodamaker, “and an important part of having access is affordability.  We’re working hard to manage the cost of our broadband buildout and to also enable access,” he said.  “This is why Gibson Connect offers both the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and the Lifeline discounts to qualifying members to lower the cost of its residential internet plans.”

Rodamaker said Gibson EMC already has invested $3.9 million on a broadband middle-mile network in its Kentucky service area and will match the Kentucky broadband grant (of $4.6 million) with $6.4 million for a total investment of $15 million.  He said this grant award moves Gibson EMC and Gibson Connect a step closer to the ultimate goal of making the essential service of high-speed, fiber-based internet available to every Gibson EMC member.

Gibson Connect is a wholly-owned, not-for-profit subsidiary of Gibson EMC.  It was formed to make high-speed, fiber-based internet service available to members of Gibson EMC.  Members can register for internet, phone and TV service at join.gibsonconnect.com or by calling 731-562-6000.  Registration is just $20 and will apply toward a member’s first Gibson Connect bill when service is received.  Sign up now to ensure you receive service as quickly as possible.

Gibson EMC is a local, not-for-profit, member-owned and member-controlled electric cooperative serving more than 39,000 homes and businesses in four west Kentucky counties (Carlisle, Fulton, Graves and Hickman) and eight west Tennessee counties (Crockett, Dyer, Gibson, Haywood, Lake, Lauderdale, Obion and Madison).

NASHVILLE – Seventy-two student-delegates, teachers and co-op advisors from across Tennessee are headed to Washington, D.C., as a part of the 2022 Washington Youth Tour. The annual event, which begins today, provides young leaders with an opportunity to explore the nation’s capital, learn about government and develop their leadership skills. This is the first youth tour since 2019.

The Washington Youth Tour is sponsored by the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association and local electric cooperatives from across the state. Students were selected for the trip by writing a short story titled “Electric Cooperatives – Building a Brighter Tennessee” that explains how co-ops are investing in the future of their communities.

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

“We are very excited about the 2022 youth tour,” says Todd Blocker, vice president of member relations for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association and tour director. “Our team, our co-ops and our youth tour partners have worked hard to put together a trip that will be both safe and memorable for this year’s delegates. Thanks to the flexibility and cooperation of our hotel, bus company, airlines and venues, this year’s itinerary looks very similar to that of previous years.”

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

“We all know the impact that youth tour can have on young people,” says Blocker. “We are thrilled to be able to help these delegates learn more about public policy, history, leadership and cooperatives.”

Centerville, TN —  John Brennan of rural Hickman County is Meriwether Lewis Connect’s 10,000th subscriber. Service was installed June 2, 2022.

“When Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative announced it was bringing broadband, I thought I hope I live to see it, and now here it is,” says Brennan. “MLConnect will allow me to stream and surf the Internet, while also saving on subscription services. It is a significant upgrade and opportunity for our rural communities and gives us the flexibility to work in a place we love to live.”

Formed in 2018 in response to MLEC members requesting fiber-to-the-home, MLConnect’s goal was to finish construction in all five counties by the end of 2022. The first in-home installation happened in March 2019, and the final phase of construction (Hickman County) is on target to finish later this year. In-home and business installations will be ongoing.

“We appreciate everyone’s support of the MLConnect broadband project and what we’re trying to accomplish for those we serve,” says MLEC President and CEO Keith Carnahan. “We’re working as quickly as we can to make fast, affordable, reliable broadband an option for MLEC members.”

MLEC is a member-owned, not-for-profit electric utility that serves more than 34,500 meters in Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Lewis and Perry counties. We are helping build brighter futures and make connections possible for those we serve. Learn more at mlec.com.

Summertime seems to be getting hotter every year. This season, prepare your home in advance so relying more and more on your air conditioning won’t show up as much on your electric bill.

Here are five ways to give you’re A/C a break this summer:

  1. Call an HVAC technician. A professional can examine your system and let you know what needs repairing or replacing, which can prevent a mid-summer breakdown.
  2. Change or clean air filters. When filters do their job properly, they trap dirt, pet hair and anything else that’s floating in the air from recirculating into your home when the air conditioner is blowing. But dirty filters can prevent air from flowing, too, which makes the A/C have to work extra hard to cool your house. The solution: Change or clean your filters once a month during the summer.
  3. Run ceiling fans. When the A/C is running at the same time as a ceiling fan, the room where the fan is located will feel cool enough that you can raise the thermostat by about 4 degrees. A fan doesn’t cool the air, but it creates a breeze that makes anyone in the room feel cooler.
  4. Install a dehumidifier. Another great partner for the A/C is an energy-efficient dehumidifier. Lowering the humidity in your home helps the air conditioner work more efficiently because it doesn’t have to waste energy removing moisture from the air and can concentrate on simply cooling it.
  5. Don’t create heat. On days when it’s warm enough to turn on the air conditioner, turn off your oven, clothes dryer, lamps and other appliances that create heat. Wait until after dark, when the day cools off a bit, before running heat-producing machines.

We pack a suitcase when we’re headed out on vacation, of course. We pack a bag when we know ahead of time that we’ll be hospitalized for a surgical procedure. Soon-to-be empty-nesters watch anxiously as their college-age kid packs all that’s necessary to furnish a dorm room. And as that delivery date approaches, every expectant mother has a bag packed and ready for when Mother Nature says, “It’s time.”  

But there’s another kind of packed bag that can come in handy: The one you stock to be prepared in the event of a prolonged power outage. 

“We hope our members never need to rely on those kinds of supplies,” says Trent Scott, vice president of corporate strategy for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “But we’d prefer that they have it and not need it instead of the other way around.” 

Depending on the time of year and your family’s needs, here’s a list of some common items that will prove very useful if electricity is unavailable for an extended period of time: 

  • Flashlights/batteries 
  • Long-burning candles and lighter or matches 
  • Water (one gallon per person per day) 
  • Nonperishable food/pantry items and a manual can opener 
  • First-aid kit 
  • Wet wipes/hand sanitizer 
  • Weather radio 
  • Portable phone charger 
  • Headlamps, deck of cards, portable battery-operated fan 

Scott stresses the need to check your power outage bag periodically, even if the need to use it hasn’t arisen: “You’ll want to be sure that expiration dates haven’t passed and that batteries are still good. And there’s one last critical piece of advice I can’t stress enough: Make sure everyone in your family knows the location of this bag, box or tote. It can’t help you if you’ve forgotten where you put it!” 

NASHVILLE – At a board meeting held Wednesday in Young Harris, Ga., Jeff Lyash, CEO of the Tennessee Valley Authority, discussed decarbonization plans one year after releasing the agency’s Strategic Intent and Guiding Principles framework.

David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, made the following statement:

“Affordable energy and a reliable and resilient power grid are critical to the families and businesses served by consumer-owned electric co-ops. Co-ops support robust decarbonization efforts, but we also recognize that the economic success of rural and suburban Tennessee depends on affordable and reliable energy. Environmental and economic needs must be carefully balanced as we move toward a carbon-free future. We support TVA’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions while protecting Tennessee’s electric rate payers and economic growth.”

Tennessee’s electric co-ops are leaders in balancing environmental and economic concerns. Tennessee’s electric co-ops’ residential electric rates at are 17 percent below the national average. At the same time, more than 55 percent of the energy distributed by Tennessee’s electric co-ops comes from carbon free sources, and statewide electric co-ops have built more than 2.5 megawatts of solar generation.

A springtime tune-up can prevent your air conditioning system from going on the fritz later, when the weather is so hot that you won’t want to be without the a/c for even a few hours.  

It typically around $100 to have a professional inspection of your system, and it’s well worth the money. 

Some contractors offer an annual preventive maintenance agreement, which will cost a few hundred dollars a year and typically includes a fall and spring inspection of your HVAC system and discounts on repairs and equipment. A better deal most often is to pay as you go for individual inspections. 

Either way, your cooling system will get attention from a qualified, licensed service technician who is trained to spot problems that most homeowners overlook. The tech might even alert you if a small repair now will prevent your family from sweltering this summer during an a/c breakdown. 

Safety is more than a catchphrase at your local electric cooperative.

That’s why you’ll see co-ops hosting safety demonstrations at community events and in schools throughout the year to demonstrate the dangers of electricity. Co-ops discuss emergency scenarios such as what to do if you’re involved in a car accident involving a utility pole and downed power lines, and they caution students on the dangers of pad-mounted transformers and overloading circuits with too many electronic devices.

Electricity is an integral part of modern life. Given the prevalence of electrical devices, tools and appliances, here are a few practical electrical safety tips:

Frayed wires pose a serious safety hazard. Power cords can become damaged or frayed with age, heavy use or excessive current flow through the wiring. If cords become frayed or cut, replace them because they could cause a shock when handled.

Avoid overloading circuits. Circuits can only cope with a limited amount of electricity. Overload happens when you draw more electricity than a circuit can safely handle — by having too many devices running on one circuit.

Label circuit breakers to understand the circuits in your home. Contact a qualified electrician if your home is more than 40 years old and you need to install multiple large appliances that consume higher amounts of electricity.

Use extension cords properly. Never plug an extension cord into another extension cord. If you “daisy chain” them together, it could lead to overheating, creating a potential fire hazard. And don’t exceed the wattage of the cord. Doing so also creates a risk of overloading the cord and creating a fire hazard. Extension cords should not be used as permanent solutions. If you need additional outlets, contact a licensed electrician to help.

I encourage you to talk with your kids about playing it safe and remaining smart around electricity. Help them be aware of overhead power lines near where they play outdoors.

Our top priority is providing an uninterrupted energy supply 24/7, 365 days per year. But equally important is keeping our community safe around electricity.

Contact your local electric co-op for additional electrical safety tips or if you would like us to provide a safety demonstration at your school or upcoming community event.

SEATTLE – NRECA and the Council of Rural Electric Communicators recognized the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association this week with the Spotlight on Excellence Silver Award for Best Total Communications Program. The award for TECA’s Brighter Tennessee campaign was presented at NRECA’s Connect Conference in Seattle.

“The Brighter Tennessee campaign was developed to help co-op consumers and community leaders better understand the impact electric co-ops have on the people and places we serve,” says Trent Scott, vice president of corporate strategy for TECA. “Co-ops are making significant investments in Tennessee’s future, and the Brighter Tennessee campaign tells that story in a compelling way.”

“We are honored by this recognition from NRECA and the Council for Rural Electric Communicators,” says David Callis, executive vice president and general manager for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “We are very proud of our communications program, and it is exciting to be recognized at this level.”

The annual Spotlight on Excellence Awards program recognizes the best communication and marketing efforts by electric cooperatives and related organizations. Entrants competed with electric cooperatives of similar size in 18 categories. Electric cooperative communicators and marketing professionals submitted more nearly 600 entries in the Spotlight on Excellence program. Faculty members from the University of Missouri – Columbia and University of South Carolina, as well as noted professionals in the fields of marketing, web design and digital communications, and newspapers judged the event, which uses a finite scoring system to determine the winners.

In addition to TECA’s recognition for Best Total Communications Program, Appalachian Electric Cooperative and Middle Tennessee Electric also received Spotlight on Excellence Awards. AEC was recognized with a Gold Award for Best Internal Newsletter and a Gold Award for Best Photo. Middle Tennessee Electric received a Gold Award for Best Ad Campaign and a Gold Award for Best Individual Ad.

Friday, April 22, is Earth Day 2022. Consider making an Earth Day “resolution” to change at least one energy-related bad habit at home.

Here are some ideas:

  1. If you haven’t already, switch your lamps and overhead light fixtures to LED versions. You can even use LED light bulbs in older fixtures.
  2. Turn off the lights when you leave a room and teach your children to do the same. This is time-tested advice.
  3. Unplug appliances like the TV and your computer when you’re not using them. Appliances that are turned off but still plugged in draw small amounts of electricity.
  4. Take shorter showers. You’ll save both water and energy.
  5. Have your large appliances inspected every year. A maintenance check can help a furnace, air conditioning system or water heater last longer and run more efficiently.

One of the most preventable fires is an electrical one caused by defective wires or outlets. How would your home score on this quiz?

  • Question 1: Do any cords on appliances, lamps or tools look frayed or crimped?
  • Question 2: Are any cords hidden under rugs, where they can overheat or get damaged when people walk on them?
  • Question 3: Are you using extension cords as a permanent solution to a cord that’s too far from a plug? Extension cords are designed for temporary, not permanent, use.
  • Question 4: How many appliances are plugged into a power strip that is plugged into a single outlet? Do any of your home’s outlets support two power strips? An overloaded outlet can lead to an overloaded circuit.
  • Question 5: When is the last time you tested your GFCI outlets in the bathrooms, kitchen, laundry room and outdoors? To test them, push the “test” and “reset” buttons on the outlet.
  • Question 6: How close are appliances to heating vents, the stove, the oven or another heat source? An overheated appliance could catch on fire and will work inefficiently.
  • Question 7: Are the batteries in your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector fresh? Change them twice a year when you set the clocks forward or back as the seasons change.

We’ve all been there. You’re at the garden center of your favorite big box store, or perhaps you’re visiting the local plant nursery. Maybe it’s the first really warm day of spring — the one that makes you want to get out there and plant something.

There are flowering shrubs in pots and all kinds of plants in flats from which to choose. And then the balled and burlapped trees catch your eye. Digging doesn’t seem like a whole lot of work when you’re anxious to get your hands dirty. Some extra shade sure would be nice when summertime rolls around. And a flowering tree would add a lot to the landscaping.

“That’s the moment to stop and think about what that tree will look like when it’s fully mature,” says [INSERT NAME OF CO-OP, TITLE, EMPLOYEE NAME] “We all enjoy the beauty that trees bring to our landscapes. They provide important environmental benefits, and they add to our property values. But when they become so tall that they interfere with power lines, that’s a problem. High winds can bring tree branches into contact with these lines, and power outages can often be the result — not just for you but also for your neighbors.”

The best way to avoid this is to make sure the sapling you’re planting won’t eventually grow so large as to cause issues. Do a little research before your purchase to determine the mature height and width of that species. There are many beautiful small trees (flowering dogwoods and redbuds are just two examples) that are native to Tennessee and great power line-friendly choices.

“We always say, ‘Plant the right tree for the right place,’” says [NAME]. “If you have any questions about the advisability of a particular tree you’re considering planting, give us a call here at the co-op. We’ll be happy to help you make a good choice.”

And while you’re in the mood to get your hands dirty, here’s something else to keep in mind. Digging in your yard could result in inadvertent contact with underground utility lines — potentially injuring you or causing an interruption in your electric service. Before you pick up a shovel, always call 811. At no cost to you, your underground utility lines will be located and marked prior to the start of your project. One quick phone call prevents accidental contact. It’s easy, it’s free and it’s the law. Call before you dig!

NASHVILLE – More than 45 high school juniors from across the state are in Nashville this week for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association’s annual Youth Leadership Summit.

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

Tre Hargett, Tennessee Secretary of State, welcomed the students to the Capitol where they visited with legislators, sat in on committee meetings and debated and voted on a mock bill.

In addition to meeting lawmakers and experiencing the state Capital, students also developed their leadership and teambuilding skills at the Joe C. Davis YMCA Outdoor Center at Camp Widjiwagen, completed a leadership training course with leadership expert Amy Gallimore and met Trooper Shane Moore and K9 officer Sumo from the Tennessee Executive Protection Detail. Students also spent a morning at Middle Tennessee Electric in Murfreesboro for a behind-the-scenes look at an electric cooperative.

“Meeting our state representatives was amazing,” said Madison Gean, a junior from Hardin County High School and a Youth Leadership Summit delegate from Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative in Savannah. “We’ve all learned so much. You can always grow and adapt and build leadership skills, and I am grateful for this opportunity. Please continue to do this for other young students.”

Delegates to the Youth Leadership Summit are encouraged to be leaders and use their talents to improve rural Tennessee. “The future is built on the investments we make today, and there is no greater investment that we can make than to prepare these young people to face the opportunities and challenges of tomorrow,” says Todd Blocker, vice president of member relations for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association and director of the Youth Leadership Summit. “These students are selected by their local electric co-ops, school officials and guidance counselors, and they truly are the best and the brightest. The Youth Leadership Summit is an example of the many ways that electric co-ops are building a brighter Tennessee.”

NASHVILLE – more than 8,000 electric co-op leaders from across the country are gathering in Nashville this week for the annual meeting of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, PowerXchange. The gathering is the largest convention to be hosted in Tennessee since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.

“Tennessee’s electric co-ops are honored to host industry leaders from across the country,” says David Callis, executive vice president and general manager for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “The important conversations about energy policy held this week will have an impact on America’s rural and suburban communities long into the future.”

“Welcome to Nashville – what a great, growing, vibrant city,” said Jim Matheson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association during today’s opening General Session. “Every time we meet here, I am so impressed by the personality – and the hospitality – in Music City.”

Co-op leaders will be in town through Wednesday to discuss the challenges of the ever-changing industry and cultivate future-focused thinkers.

How many appliances do you have plugged into the power strip in your TV room?

Take note: Each of those electronics uses a lot of electricity, so if you power up all of them at once, you could be overloading an electrical circuit. That’s because even though each plug goes into a separate socket on the power strip, the power strip itself is plugged into a single outlet.

And if you have plugged a power strip into another one to increase the number of appliances you can power from that single outlet, you could be setting yourself up for trouble.

At a minimum, you could trip the circuit connected to that single outlet. Worst case, you could start a fire by overloading that circuit.

If your circuits are overloaded, it’s time to call a licensed electrician to upgrade the home’s electrical system so it can keep up with the demands new technology places on it.

Here’s how to tell if your home’s circuits are overloaded, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International:

  • Lights are flickering, blinking or dimming.
  • Electrical receptacles on the walls are warm to the touch or have become discolored.
  • You smell a burning odor coming from receptacles or wall switches.
  • Circuits trip on a regular basis.

Here are some guidelines that could help you avoid overloading your circuits:

  • Do not plug large appliances into extension cords or power strips. They need an outlet all to themselves.
  • Get rid of extension cords. They’re meant for temporary use—not permanent. Don’t rig your year-round devices, like lamps or TVs, up to extension cords.
  • Notice how many extension cords you use. If it’s a lot, that could signal that you don’t have enough outlets. An electrician can add more.

Photo by Roam In Color on Unsplash

With the 2022 Winter Olympics underway, some of the world’s most exceptional athletes have taken the stage to compete for the gold. From snowboarding to skiing to figure skating, there are a variety of events taking place that will have you cheering for Team USA from your living room.

While the Olympics are happening on the other side of the globe, did you know that Tennessee is home to a company that specializes in none other than figure skating boots?

Last October, figure skating boot manufacturer SP-Teri announced plans to invest more than $430,000 to relocate and expand its headquarters and manufacturing operations from Nashville to McEwen, Tennessee.

It’s easy to wonder how such a specialty manufacturer like SP-Teri landed in a state as hot as Tennessee, so without further ado, let us explain.

Founded in California by Joseph Spiteri in 1963, SP-Teri has served elite figure skaters by manufacturing ice skate boots for more than 50 years.

When the founder’s son, George, decided to retire in 2019, a two-time Olympic figure skating competitor and current coach with Nashville Skating Academy, Bill Fauver stepped up to the plate to assist in purchasing the company as he had previously served SP-Teri as a brand and sales representative for Tennessee.

Thus, SP-Teri’s operations moved from California to Tennessee just months before March of 2020 when Nashville was struck by the horrific tornados.

SP-Teri was among the list of businesses that experienced complete devastation, and about three months after settling in Davidson County, the company had to find a new location for its operations.

Fast forward to 2021, company president Bill Fauver settled SP-Teri in McEwen, Tennessee, operating in the former OshKosh B’gosh building. McEwen is served by Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative.

Just when one might think that blue skies were ahead, Humphreys County experienced torrential flooding, and in its path was SP-Teri’s new facility.

Fortunately, aside from roof damage, the building remained intact, and SP-Teri was able to maintain production.

Now that 2022 is in full swing, things are looking up as the company is in talks with Chattanooga-based Moonlight Roller about manufacturing roller skate boots.

“That is the bright future,” said Fauver. “The company has done well out of Chattanooga and is trying to bring production to the United States.”

Although Fauver weathered two of Tennessee’s roughest storms, his outlook remains positive as the company will continue to operate here in Tennessee.

Regarding working with Moonlight Roller, Fauver mentioned that “there won’t be shipping issues” and that the company “will be able to pivot design changes easily.”

“We think there will be some opportunities for us to offer a complete roller skate down the road,” Fauver said.

While the company may be shifting its focus to roller skate boots in the short term, they will continue manufacturing ice skate boots, keeping SP-Teri’s legacy alive.

According to Fauver, the busy season is year-round for competitive skaters, but there is always an uptick in activity for public skating during the Olympics.

“You’ve got more skaters wanting to learn to skate, and then more people wanting boots,” he explained.

Whether it’s ice skating or roller skating, remember, the next time you find yourself slipping on a pair of skates, know that the boots may have been mastered in Tennessee.

This story originally appeared on the TNECD website. Thanks to Lindsey Tipton for permission to share.

NASHVILLE – More than 140 electric co-op leaders from across the state were in Nashville on Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 15 and 16, for the 2022 Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association Legislative Conference. During meetings with legislators on Capitol Hill, co-op members and employees stressed the important role that co-ops play in their communities and briefed lawmakers on issues that impact rural and suburban Tennessee.

Gov. Bill Lee welcomed attendees to Nashville on Wednesday morning. “The services you provide to rural Tennesseans are incredibly important,” said Lee.

Tennessee’s electric cooperatives maintain a visible presence in Nashville and Washington, D.C., to protect the interests of co-ops and their consumer-owners. “Electric co-ops are complex and heavily regulated businesses, and the decisions made by legislators can have a significant impact on the affordability and reliability of the energy they provide to millions of families across Tennessee,” says David Callis, CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “We must tell the electric cooperative story and educate lawmakers about the impact of proposed legislation.”

“Advocating for our members doesn’t stop at the edge of our service territory. It is critically important that our elected leaders keep cooperatives in mind when crafting laws and regulations that impact us,” says Dave Cross, president of TECA’s board of trustees and CEO of Plateau Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Oneida. “We have a responsibility to our communities to tell their story.”

Broadband was a topic discussed during visits with legislators. “We’ve invested heavily in broadband expansion, and you’re key to that,” said Gov. Lee. “Unless every Tennessean has access to opportunity – every kid in the urban center and every kid in the farthest-reaching rural communities – then we have not done our job. The ways we do that in large part is through the services and technology that you make possible.”

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


Trent Scott | Vice President of Strategy | 615.515.5534 | [email protected]

An early February ice storm left thousands of Tennessee electric co-op consumer-members without power Thursday, Feb. 3. The system left upwards of a 1/2 inch of ice in some places, the added weight bringing down trees and power lines as wind speeds topped 30 miles an hour.

Power outages were first reported Thursday morning by co-ops along the Mississippi River in far west Tennessee. By Thursday afternoon more than 20,000 co-op members were without power. Chickasaw Electric Cooperative in Somerville had more than 10,000 members without power, nearly half of its total membership. Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation, Gibson Electric Membership Corporation, Forked Deer Electric Membership Corporation and Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation also received damage from the storm.

“We are very sorry, but this will be a lengthy outage for some customer-members,” said Andrea Kee, spokesperson for Chickasaw Electric Cooperative in a social media post on Thursday evening. “This morning we reached out to other cooperatives for help, and we are happy to report that additional crews are headed this way to help with the storm repair. We sincerely appreciate our customer-members’ patience and support. Your comments on our social media pages and phone calls do not go unnoticed.”

“Crews have made great progress overnight getting larger outages resolved,” said Billy Gordon, vice president of technical operations for Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation in Brownsville. “For those members still without power, progress today will be slow as linemen spread out to work smaller individual outages one-by-one. Of our 137 different outages, 65 affect a single member.”

“We will restore service to everyone as quickly as we safely can,” said Dan Rodamaker, President and CEO of Gibson Electric Membership Corporation. “However, with a growing number of outage trouble spots and with the downed lines and broken poles that ice can cause, repairs may be time-intensive.”

Additional crews from Duck River Electric Membership Corporation, Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative, Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative and Pickwick Electric Cooperative, along with multiple contract construction crews, are assisting with restoration efforts this morning.