NASHVILLE – More than 140 lineworkers from 15 Tennessee electric cooperatives will soon be heading to North Carolina to assist with Hurricane Florence recovery efforts. The massive hurricane is expected to leave widespread damage across much of the Atlantic seaboard.

Tennessee electric co-op crews are planning to leave from multiple locations beginning on Wednesday morning. Most will ride out the storm in western or central North Carolina before heading further east once the storm passes through. It is unclear how long they will be in North Carolina.

“Our crews have a reputation for responding quickly, working safely and showing compassion to those who have been impacted by storms like this one,” 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.”

Please keep the people of the Atlantic coast, 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 and the name and location of the co-op they will be helping. This information is likely to change as the storm nears the coast.

  • Appalachian Electric Cooperative in New Market, Tenn. – 12 lineworkers to Piedmont EMC in Hillsboro, North Carolina
  • Caney Fork Electric Cooperative in McMinnville, Tenn. – eight lineworkers to Pee Dee EC in Wadesboro, North Carolina
  • Chickasaw Electric Cooperative in Somerville, Tenn. – five lineworkers to Randolph EMC in Asheboro, North Carolina
  • Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation in Clarksville, Tenn. – 10 lineworkers to South River EMC in Fayetteville, North Carolina
  • Duck River Electric Membership Corporation in Shelbyville, Tenn. – nine lineworkers to Lumbee River EMC in Red Springs, North Carolina
  • Fayetteville Public Utilities in Fayetteville, Tenn. – eight lineworkers to Tri-County EMC in Dudley, North Carolina
  • Holston Electric Cooperative in Rogersville, Tenn. – eight lineworkers to Lumbee River EMC in Red Springs, North Carolina
  • Meriwether Lewis Electric Membership Corporation in Centerville, Tenn. – five lineworkers to Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative in Buxton, North Carolina
  • Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation in Murfreesboro, Tenn. – 15 lineworkers to Carteret-Craven EC in Newport North Carolina
  • Plateau Electric Cooperative in Onieda, Tenn. – 13 lineworkers to South River EMC in Fayetteville, North Carolina
  • Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative in South Pittsburg, Tenn. – 10 lineworkers to Four County EMC in Burgaw, North Carolina
  • Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation in Brownsville, Tenn. – 10 lineworkers to Jones-Onslow EMC in Jacksonville, North Carolina
  • Tri-County Electric Membership Corporation in Lafayette, Tenn. – eight to Energy United in Statesville, North Carolina
  • Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative in Savannah, Tenn. – 10 lineworkers to Central EMC in Sanford, North Carolina
  • Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation in Carthage, Tenn. – 12 lineworkers to Four County EMC in Burgaw, North Carolina

NASHVILLE – Three Tennessee electric co-ops will receive almost $3 million to help expand broadband availability. Gibson Electric Membership Corporation, Holston Electric Cooperative and Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative each submitted winning bids in the most recent Federal Communications Commission Connect America Fund II (CAF II) reverse auction.

Over the next ten years, Gibson Connect, a subsidiary of Gibson EMC, will receive $1.22 million, Holston Connect, a subsidiary of Holston EC, will receive $530,000 and ML Connect, a subsidiary of Meriwether Lewis EC, will receive $1.18 million.

These three Tennessee co-ops were among 35 nationally that will receive $225 million to help defray the costs of deploying broadband in underserved areas. The CAF II auction marks the first time that the FCC allowed electric cooperatives to bid for funding as broadband service providers.

“We are pleased to see the FCC recognize that electric co-ops have a unique opportunity to bring broadband to rural and suburban America,” says David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “Tennessee’s electric co-ops have demonstrated our ability to successfully deliver broadband, and we will continue to seek out innovative funding sources and partnerships to make this happen.”

NASHVILLE – It is an exciting and exhausting time, the culmination of a season of hard work. However, the rush to harvest can also yield tragic outcomes. Each year, dozens of farm workers are killed and hundreds are injured in accidents involving power lines and electrical equipment.

“Things get very busy this time of year on the farm, and it is all too easy to forget the danger that may be just overhead,” says Trent Scott, spokesperson for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association.

Review with all workers the farm activities that take place around power lines. Inspect the height of farm equipment to determine clearance. Keep equipment at least 10 feet away from power lines – above, below and to the side – a 360-degree rule.

“Take the time to lower grain augers before moving them, even if it’s only a few feet,” says Scott. “Also use extreme caution when raising booms or buckets on equipment.”

Tennessee’s electric cooperatives encourage farm workers to take these steps to ensure a safer harvest season:

  • Use care when raising augers or the bed of grain trucks around power lines.
  • Use a spotter when operating large machinery near power lines. Do not let the spotter touch the machinery while it is being moved anywhere near power lines.
  • As with any outdoor work, be careful not to raise any equipment such as ladders, poles or rods into power lines. Remember, non-metallic materials such as lumber, tree limbs, ropes and hay will conduct electricity depending on dampness, dust and dirt contamination.
  • Never attempt to raise or move a power line to clear a path!
  • Don’t use metal poles to break up bridged grain inside bins. Know where and how to shut off the power in an emergency.
  • Use qualified electricians for work on drying equipment and other farm electrical systems.

Operators of farm equipment or vehicles must also know what to do if the vehicle comes in contact with a power line: Stay on the equipment, warn others to stay away and call 911. Do not get off the equipment until the utility crew says it is safe to do so.

“If the power line is energized and you step outside, high-voltage could flow through your body,” Scott said. “Stay inside the vehicle unless there’s fire or imminent risk of fire.”

If this is the case, jump off the equipment with your feet together, without touching the ground and vehicle at the same time. Then, still keeping your feet together, hop to safety as you leave the area.

Once you get away from the equipment, never attempt to get back on or even touch the equipment. Some electrocutions have occurred after the operator dismounts and, realizing nothing has happened, tries to get back on the equipment.

It is very important that all farm workers and seasonal employees are informed of electrical hazards and trained in proper procedures to avoid injury.

For other tips on how to be safe around electricity visit www.everydaysafe.org or call the safety experts at your local electric cooperative.

NASHVILLE – Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative lineman Nick Gipson flipped a ceremonial switch to light the midway at the 2018 Tennessee State Fair on Friday, Sept. 7, in Nashville.

Attendees of the opening ceremony heard from legislators and elected officials, including Nashville Mayor David Briley and David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association.

“The theme for this year’s fair is ‘The Heart of Tennessee,’ and over the next 10 days this will be a celebration of our state’s unique culture, art, music and food,” said Callis. “You can also find the heart of Tennessee in the 2,600 electric co-op employees across the state. Their work keeps the lights on, our cell phones charged and the computers running. Their time, effort and sacrifices make civilized life possible for the rest of us.”

“For more than 150 years, the fair has been a celebration of rural Tennessee life,” says David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “It is where World War I hero Sgt. Alvin York showed his prize Hereford and generations have marked the beginning of autumn. It is an honor for Tennessee’s electric co-ops to be a part of this great event.”

Today two Tennessee co-ops announced projects to expand broadband.

Just over 79 years ago, from the Centerville Courthouse steps in Hickman County, Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative’s first leaders announced its commitment to provide safe, affordable, reliable electricity to areas overlooked by other providers. Today from the same location, MLEC President and CEO Keith Carnahan announced that MLEC was furthering that original initiative and launching Meriwether Lewis Connect, LLC, to deliver broadband internet across the five counties it serves.

“Our areas need broadband for education, healthcare, and community development. Studies show it is a vital need to attract and retain families and businesses,” said Carnahan. “Bringing high-speed internet to all our members is one of the largest investments we’ve made since our inception 79 years ago. It is a huge step in a completely different arena, but helping rural communities build essential services is just another facet of what cooperatives are designed to do.”

Additionally, Middle Tennessee Electric, the state’s largest electric cooperative, and United Communications, Middle Tennessee’s leading provider of fiber and fixed wireless internet services, today announced that they have partnered to expand broadband access to underserved areas across seven counties in Tennessee.

The partnership between Middle Tennessee Electric and United Communications allows the two organizations to combine their resources and decades of experience to offer affordable, high‐speed internet services to members and customers in the coming years and improve quality of life for those in the areas they serve.

“We’re proud to be the first electric cooperative to pursue a partnership of this kind in Tennessee and answer the calls we have long heard from our members. They want and need access to broadband service,” said Chris Jones, president and CEO of Middle Tennessee Electric. “United Communications is the ideal partner for us. They have already built an impressive fiber backbone throughout many areas we serve which will allow us to work together to more rapidly and cost effectively expand internet services.”

This initiative is already under way and full implementation will be a multi‐year process. Based on input from the community, the partnership will prioritize implementation in areas with the highest demand. It allows both organizations to build a world‐class smart grid in the region, at the lowest possible cost, while not impacting Middle Tennessee Electric members’ electric rates, which are some of the lowest in the country.

Both co-op announcements come as a result of the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act signed into law in 2017 by Gov. Bill Haslam. The law removed restrictions to allow co-ops to provide broadband to the communities they serve. Since implementation of the law, eight of the state’s 23 co-ops have announced broadband projects.

NASHVILLE – Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation hosted the 21st Annual Tennessee Valley Lineman Rodeo on Friday and Saturday, June 29-30. The two-day competition recognizes and rewards excellence in safety, skill and knowledge in the field of utility line work.

Full results are available on the Tennessee Valley Lineman Rodeo website.

Results of Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association members are listed below (top three in each category).


Team Results

Hurtman Rescue

Volunteer EC, First Place
Cumberland EMC, Third Place
Tri-State EMC

Hot Cutout Change

Cumberland EMC
Tri-State EMC
Volunteer EC

3 Phase Tie Event

Volunteer EC
Tri-State EMC
Cumberland EMC

VC1-2 Insulator Change

Tri-State EMC
Cumberland EMC
Volunteer EC

Overall Totals

Tri-State EMC
Cumberland EMC
Volunteer EC


Individual Apprentice Results

Written Test

Donald Young, Southwest Tennessee EMC, Third place
Ricky Hutcherson, Southwest Tennessee EMC
Ireneo Rose, Caney Fork EC

Hurtman Rescue

Ireneo Rose, Caney Fork EC, First Place
Jonathan Fitzpatrick, Middle Tennessee EMC, Second Place
Bobby Buttrey, Middle Tennessee EMC

B-1 Tie In

Jonathan Fitzpatrick, Middle Tennessee EMC, First Place
Chase Patterson, Middle Tennessee EMC
Dalton Stephenson, Southwest Tennessee EMC

A-6 Bell Change

Dalton Stephenson, Southwest Tennessee EMC, Second Place
Jonathan Fitzpatrick, Middle Tennessee EMC
Harley Deline, Southwest Tennessee EMC

Dead Lift

Jonathan Fitzpatrick, Middle Tennessee EMC, First Place
Chase Patterson, Middle Tennessee EMC, Third Place
Harley Deline, Southwest Tennessee EMC

Overall Totals

Jonathan Fitzpatrick, Middle Tennessee EMC, First Place
Chase Patterson, Middle Tennessee EMC, Third Place
Dalton Stephenson, Southwest Tennessee EMC


Individual Journeyman Results

Hurtman Rescue

James Grant, Middle Tennessee EMC, Second Place
Thomas Carlton, Southwest Tennessee EMC, Third Place
Brad Kincaid, Middle Tennessee EMC

A-6 Bell Change

James Grant, Middle Tennessee EMC
Nathan Neal, Middle Tennessee EMC
Danny Crawford, Middle Tennessee EMC

Cutout Change

James Grant, Middle Tennessee EMC, First Place
Chris Gossett, Middle Tennessee EMC, Third Place
Rusty George, Middle Tennessee EMC

Skill Climb

James Grant, Middle Tennessee EMC, Second Place
Brad Kincaid, Middle Tennessee EMC
Danny Crawford, Middle Tennessee EMC

Overall Totals

James Grant, Middle Tennessee EMC, First Place
Brad Kincaid, Middle Tennessee EMC, Second Place
Danny Crawford, Middle Tennessee EMC, Third Place


Senior Results

Hurtman Rescue

Chris Couch, Holston EC, Second Place
Bo Ashbury, Middle Tennessee EMC, Third Place
Trent Cary, Gibson EMC

B-7 Insulator

Bo Ashbury, Middle Tennessee EMC, Second Place
Chris Couch, Holston EC
Trent Cary, Gibson EMC

Dead Lift

Bo Ashbury, Middle Tennessee EMC, Second Place
Trent Cary, Gibson EMC
Chris Couch, Holston EC

Overall Totals

Bo Ashbury, Middle Tennessee EMC, Second Place
Chris Couch, Holston EC, Third Place
Trent Cary, Gibson EMC

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in America. As many as one in five Americans will be diagnosed with the disease. People who work outdoors in the summer, including many employees of electric cooperatives, are at even higher risk.

The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association worked with the American Cancer Society to develop resources to remind co-op employees of the dangers and the simple precautions that should be incorporated into their daily routines.

“Millions of Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each year. Fortunately, there are some simple precautions that you can take to reduce your risk,” says Greg Broy, spokesperson for the American Cancer Society in Tennessee. “We are pleased to work with the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association to increase awareness of these precautions for the thousands of electric co-op employees across the state.”

TECA has developed a poster and the infographic below to remind co-op employees and the public to have a sun-safe summer.

 

suninfo

NASHVILLE – Electric lineworkers face many dangers – high voltage, heights and extreme weather conditions. Despite these challenges, one of the most dangerous aspects of the job has less to do with what they do and more to do with where they do it.

Lineworkers frequently work alongside busy roadways, often only feet away from passing cars.

Tennessee’s “Move Over” law was passed in 2006 to protect first responders like police officers, firefighters and paramedics. In 2011, Tennessee’s electric cooperatives led a coalition to revise the state’s move over law to include utility workers as well. Unfortunately, seven years after the law was passed, many motorists do not follow it.

“We have had cars come through at high rates of speed, hitting the cones we have set up and clipping the outriggers that we have down to support the trucks,” says Greg Bryant, line foreman for Gibson Electric Membership Corporation in Trenton, Tenn. “I think people care, they just don’t pay attention like they should.”

The requirements of Tennessee’s move over law are simple. On a four lane road, if safety and traffic conditions allow, a driver approaching a utility vehicle with flashing lights should move into the far lane. On a two lane road or when changing lanes is not possible, a driver should reduce their speed.

Electric co-op vehicles aren’t the only utility vehicles covered; service vehicles used by municipal electric systems, telephone companies and utility districts are also protected by the law.

More information about the law is available at moveovertennessee.org.

MURFREESBORO – Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation will host the 21st Annual Tennessee Valley Lineman Rodeo this coming Friday and Saturday, June 29-30, at Tennessee Miller Coliseum located at 304 W. Thompson Lane, Murfreesboro, Tenn. The two-day competition recognizes and rewards excellence in safety, skill and knowledge in the field of utility line work.

Hundreds of competitors from across the Tennessee Valley will perform various tasks from 40 feet in the air on utility poles, including hurtman rescues, skill climbs and various equipment installations and replacements. Participants are judged on safety procedures, work practices, neatness, ability, equipment handling and timely completion of each task. The rodeo includes events for apprentices, journeymen teams of three, individual linemen and a senior category for lineman age 45 years and up.

“We are excited about the opportunity to host the Tennessee Valley Lineman Rodeo,” said MTEMC President Chris Jones. “A lot of planning and hard work will come together at the end of this week, and we encourage those in Murfreesboro and Rutherford County to come by and join us.”

The rodeo will begin with an opening ceremony Friday at 1:30 p.m. at the Miller Coliseum. Individual and senior competitions will take place Friday beginning at 2 p.m. The rodeo continues Saturday beginning at 7:30 a.m. There is no cost to attend the Tennessee Lineman Rodeo, and it is family-friendly with food trucks and a kids play area.

For more information about the event, visit www.tnrodeo.com.

[NASHVILLE] – On Thursday the Trump administration released details on a reform plan that would reorganize multiple federal agencies. Among the recommendations included in the report was a proposal to sell the Tennessee Valley Authority’s transmission assets.

In response to the administration’s proposal, David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, made the following statement:

“TVA transmission assets are important to residents of the Tennessee Valley. The federal government’s original investment in TVA has been fully repaid with interest by the people served by TVA, and these assets should not be sold to outside investors. If the administration wishes to divest of TVA transmission assets, they should be transferred to their rightful owners – the consumers of TVA power. Tennessee’s electric co-ops are owned by the people we serve, and we will pursue all options, including purchase of TVA assets, to protect our rate payers and the transmission lines they have paid to build.”

For more than 50 years electricity sales, not government appropriations, have paid for the operation and maintenance of TVA’s assets. According to 2013 study by the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, TVA has returned to the U.S. Treasury more than $3 billion on the government’s original investment of $1.4 billion.

Tennessee’s electric cooperatives serve 71 percent of the state and more than 2.5 million consumers. The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association provides leadership, advocacy and support for Tennessee’s 23 electric cooperatives. The association also publishes The Tennessee Magazine, the state’s most widely circulated periodical. Visit tnelectric.org or tnmagazine.org to learn more.

For more information:
Trent Scott, Vice President for Corporate Strategy | 731-608-1519 | tscott@tnelectric.org