NASHVILLE – More than 40 electric cooperative lineworkers from Tennessee are heading to Louisiana to restore power to those affected by Hurricane Isaac. Crews departed early Thursday morning.

“Seven electric cooperatives in Tennessee are sending personnel and equipment to Louisiana to assist electric cooperatives impacted by the storm,” said David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “Louisiana has seen high wind, heavy rain and widespread power outages.”

Electric cooperative organizations across the southeast began developing response plans on Monday and details have been adjusted as the exact path of the storm and the extent of the damage became more certain. This cooperation is enabled through mutual aid agreements between electric cooperatives.

Crews will be assisting Dixie Electric Membership Corporation in Greenwell Springs, La., approximately 10 miles east of Baton Rouge.

Assisting in the recovery will be:

  • four lineworkers from Chickasaw Electric Cooperative, Somerville
  • nine from Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation, Clarksville
  • seven from Fayetteville Public Utilities, Fayetteville
  • six from Fort Loudoun Electric Cooperative, Madisonville
  • eight from Plateau Electric Cooperative, Oneida
  • six from Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative, South Pittsburg
  • six from Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation, Brownsville

“One day we will be in need,” says Callis, “and when that tornado or ice storm arrives, we know that this assistance will be repaid. Cooperation is one of the founding principles of electric cooperatives.”

Additional news coverage

  • Channel 2 (Nashville, Thurs., Aug. 30, 6:00 a.m.)
  • Channel 5 (Nashville, Wed., Aug. 29, 10:00 p.m.)
  • Channel 5 (Nashville, Thurs., Aug. 30, 6:00 a.m.)

(Shelbyville, TN) Duck River Electric Membership Cooperative became the first electric cooperative in the seven state TVA service territory offering members access to green power through the newly constructed 25.92kW solar farm. Ribbon cutting festivities were held Wednesday, August 15th at 1:00pm. Representatives from DREMC’s Board of Directors, DREMC management staff, local school officials, students, elected officials and TVA representatives attended the event.

The DREMC Solar Farm Limited Partnership is located at 1411 Madison Street in Shelbyville, TN. Duck River Electric is the fourth largest electric cooperative in the state providing power to approximately 71,000 homes and businesses in all or portions of Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, Giles, Grundy, Hickman, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Marion, Marshall, Maury, Moore, Rutherford, Warren and Williamson counties.

The new DREMC Solar Farm Limited Partnership allows its members to invest in solar energy without the cost of installing or maintaining their own system. “Many people don’t want to incur the cost of home solar installation or their location isn’t ideal for solar because of their home design or an abundance of shade trees in the yard,” said Jim Allison, President and Chief Executive Officer of DREMC. “This allows our members to participate in solar energy sustainability efforts at a fraction of the cost of installing their own system.”

DREMC members can invest for as little as $600 for one unit of limited partnership interest. They will see an energy credit on their monthly bill for the duration of their ownership of the unit(s) of interest in the DREMC Solar Farm. Member investors will receive premium pricing offered by TVA in their Generation Partners Program that will help offset their original investment. DREMC will also provide its members with financing for up to a year.

“The partnership with TVA gives our members the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of the solar industry,” said Allison.  “We’re proud to offer our members the chance to support efforts in making green energy more widely available and have located this installation in proximity to elementary, middle and high schools so that it can be used as a teaching tool as well.”

Duck River Electric Membership Corporation is a member owned electric distribution cooperative founded in 1936 that currently serves nearly 71,000 members with its headquarters in Shelbyville, TN. Additional information can be found at www.dremc.com.

Gibson Electric Membership Corporation President and CEO Dan Rodamaker recently received the Touchstone Energy Brand Champion Award in recognition of living the “power of human connections.”  Rodamaker was the only co-op leader in Tennessee and one of only six co-op leaders in the nation to receive this award.

“I’m honored to receive this award, but I’m more proud of what it represents,” Rodamaker said.  “Gibson EMC, our leadership and our employees work conscientiously every day to provide our members with the highest level of service excellence,” he said.  “This is our ongoing commitment to our members and to the communities we serve.”

As part of its efforts toward service excellence, Gibson EMC surveys member-owners and benchmarks its survey results against those of other electric energy providers.  The rating from Gibson EMC’s last survey was a 91 in the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), a system used nationally to rate performance and customer satisfaction among energy providers.  This was nine points higher than the average of 82 for other Touchstone Energy Cooperatives for the same period and 16 points ahead of the national utility industry average.

“Naturally we’re honored by our member-owners’ ratings and by Touchstone Energy’s recognition of our utility,” said Rodamaker, “but it only strengthens our commitment to serve our members and our communities even better going forward.”

Touchstone Energy is a national alliance of local, consumer-owned electric cooperatives providing high standards of service to customers large and small.  More than 700 Touchstone Energy Cooperatives in 46 states are delivering energy and energy solutions to more than 27 million customers every day.  Touchstone Energy Cooperatives serve members with integrity, accountability, innovation and a longstanding commitment to communities.

Gibson EMC, a Touchstone Energy Member since 2006, is a local, not-for-profit, member-owned and member-controlled electric cooperative. Gibson EMC serves about 35,000 member-owners in Gibson, Crockett, Dyer, Haywood, Lake, Lauderdale, Madison, and Obion counties.  Its corporate customer service center is in Trenton and its satellite customer service centers are in Alamo, Medina, Tiptonville and Troy.

Jim Allison, president and CEO of Duck River Electric Membership Corporation, has been named as a director for the Tennessee Regulatory Authority by Gov. Bill Haslam.

“TECA staff has been supportive of Jim’s selection, and we’re extremely pleased to learn of his appointment as a TRA director,” says David Callis, executive vice president and general manager for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “Jim is a well-respected leader, and brings extensive utility industry experience to the TRA.”

A media release from Gov. Bill Haslam’s office is attached.

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

NEW TENNESSEE REGULATORY AUTHORITY TAKES FORM
Executive director, two directors appointed to reconfigured TRA

NASHVILLE – The newly reconfigured Tennessee Regulatory Authority (TRA) has its first full-time executive director and two new part-time directors after Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s reforms were passed during this year’s legislative session.

Haslam worked with Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) and House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) on the joint appointments of business executive Earl Taylor as executive director and utility industry veteran James Allison as a director.

The governor also appointed Herbert Hilliard, executive vice president and chief government relations officer of First Horizon National Corporation, as a TRA director.

“It is our job to make state government as accountable and responsive as possible to Tennesseans,” Haslam said. “These appointees bring years of experience and expertise to the TRA. I am grateful for their willingness to serve our citizens and appreciate the lieutenant governor and house speaker for their efforts in this selection process.

Passed during this year’s legislative session and signed into law by Haslam, HB 2385/SB 2247 changed the membership of the TRA from four full-time members to five part-time members and established the executive director position, the first of which was to be jointly appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor and house speaker.

The TRA sets utility rates and service standards of privately-owned telephone, natural gas, electric and water utilities.

Taylor practiced law in Johnson City for ten years and has an executive background as part owner of the CBS affiliate in Knoxville and as a business developer in Knoxville, the Tri-Cities area, Florida and Texas. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and a J.D. from the University of Memphis. Taylor serves as a Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority commissioner, Knoxville Fellows Program mentor and as a Young Life of Knoxville committee member.

Allison has utilities experience in Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia, and is also regarded as one of the top instant replay officials in college football after having been an on-field official in the Southeastern Conference for more than 12 years.

Hilliard has spent 42 years at First Horizon and is currently the board chair for the National Civil Rights Museum, a board member of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Tennessee and a commissioner for the Memphis/Shelby County Airport Authority.

###

NASHVILLE – Chelsea Rose is joining the staff of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association as Government Affairs Assistant. In this position, Rose will track legislation and communicate with law makers at the state and federal levels for the association that represents electric cooperative consumers across the state.

Rose has previous experience with Tennessee Farmers Cooperative, Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey’s office. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree magna cum laude in agriculture communications from Tennessee Technological University and is pursuing a master’s degree through the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Rose lives in Lancaster with her husband, John Rose. They own and operate a farm, which is in both DeKalb and Smith Counties and produces Hereford cattle, tobacco and hay. She has been active in Tennessee Future Farmers of America (FFA) as the state president and as a national vice president. She is a member of the Tennessee FFA Alumni Association, Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation and Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation.

“We are excited to have someone with Chelsea’s skills and rural background join our team,” says David Callis, executive vice president and general manager for TECA. “She will be an asset to TECA and the electric cooperatives of Tennessee.”

The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association is a trade group representing the interests of Tennessee’s 23 electric distribution cooperatives and the 1.1 million consumers they serve.

NASHVILLE – A widespread scam that claims to pay utility bills has made its way to Tennessee. Two of Tennessee’s rural electric cooperatives reported incidents involving the scam on Monday, July 9. Tennessee’s rural electric cooperatives are warning members to be aware of a bill-paying scam that asks them to disclose Social Security and bank routing numbers.

Scammers claim electric consumers can have their utility bills paid under a federal government program. No such program exists.

The solicitations have been made door-to-door, online and by phone. Members are asked for personal information and then given fake bank account numbers to use for making a payment on their utility bill.

Members are urged to alert police if they’re contacted about the scam.

NASHVILLE – Working jointly with other statewide electric cooperative organizations, Tennessee’s electric cooperatives are sending crews to Virginia to help restore electric service to those affected by severe storms on Friday and Saturday, June 29 and 30.

“Six Tennessee cooperatives are sending volunteer lineworkers and equipment to assist cooperatives in Virginia,” said David Callis, executive vice president and general manager for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “With record-setting heat in the area, it is critical that power be restored as soon as possible. Like residents in the affected areas, our lineworkers face some very long and very hot days ahead of them.”

Emergency work plans were put into place on Saturday morning, June 30, and crews from Tennessee headed for Virginia later that day. This cooperation is enabled through mutual aid agreements between electric cooperatives.

Assisting Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative in Mount Crawford, Va.:

  • five lineworkers from Mountain Electric Cooperative, Mountain City
  • four from Fort Loudoun Electric Cooperative, Madisonville
  • five from Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative, South Pittsburg

Assisting Central Virginia Electric Cooperative in Arrington, Va.:

  • 10 lineworkers from Powell Valley Electric Cooperative, New Tazewell
  • six from Plateau Electric Cooperative, Oneida

Assisting BARC Electric Cooperative in Millboro, Va.:

  • 10 lineworkers from Appalachian Electric Cooperative, New Market

Some Tennessee cooperatives received damage from the same storm system that impacted Virginia. Holston Electric Cooperative, Mountain Electric Cooperative, Fort Loudoun Electric Cooperative and Volunteer Energy Cooperative service areas received wind-related storm damage over the weekend.

Holston Electric Cooperative and Powell Valley Electric Cooperative also had outages caused by a fire at TVA’s John Sevier generation plant. All service was restored on Friday evening. The John Sevier plant remains off-line, and TVA is requesting that northwest Tennessee residents conserve energy when possible until the plant resumes production and the high temperatures subside.

“We put our own members first. We only provide assistance to out-of-state co-ops after our own needs are met,” says Callis. “Sending crews and equipment to other states does represent a risk, but our cooperatives are always eager to help when possible.”

The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association is a trade group representing the interests of Tennessee’s 23 electric distribution cooperatives and the 1.1 million members they serve.

It’s time for you to have your say in determining the best of all that Tennessee has to offer. We invite — and urge — you to help name the winners of the 2012 Best of Tennessee Readers’ Choice Awards. This year’s “Best of Tennessee” contest divides each category into the three regions of the state.

Vote in as many or as few categories as you feel knowledgeable, but keep in mind that only ballots with 15 or more categories with at least one vote will be eligible for a drawing for entertaining Tennessee-themed prizes.

You can vote for a “Best of” up to three times in any given category. As an example, if you have a favorite state park in each region of the state — West, Middle and East — then you can vote for one in each.

Please be as specific as possible. For example, for Favorite Hiking Trail, specify the name of the trail such as the Fiery Gizzard Trail in the South Cumberland Recreation Area. Please include the town where businesses or parks are located. Generic answers will not be counted. To celebrate the uniqueness of Tennessee, please exclude national franchises and chains (restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, etc.) from your responses.

Our annual “Best of Tennessee” is a fun way to interact with our readers and honor the great aspects of our state.

[button link=”https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/bestoftennessee”]Enter Online Now →[/button]

 


 Official Rules

  • No purchase necessary.
  • One entry per person.
  • Ballot must be postmarked no later than Wednesday, Aug 15, 2012.
  • To be eligible for the prize drawings, ballots must have a “Best of Tennessee” vote in at least 15 categories. You may cast votes in any or all of the regions.
  • Drawing to be held by Friday, Aug. 31.
  • Must be 18 years old to win. Grand-prize winners will be notified by mail.
  • Best of Tennessee results will be published in the October edition of The Tennessee Magazine.
  • Employees of electric cooperatives and their immediate families are not eligible for the prize giveaways.

 Enter online for a chance to win $250

For the first time you can vote online. To encourage online balloting, we will randomly choose one entry from our online submissions to win $250.


How to enter via mail

Complete the contact information form below, cast your votes on the ballot on the next page and mail both to the address on the form below.

[button link=”https://tnelectric.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/BEST_OF_TN_2012_TECA_0712_.pdf”]Download Form →[/button]

 


 Prize packages

Winners will be chosen randomly from a drawing of all entries received. Three grand-prize packages will be awarded (one each from West, Middle and East Tennessee). Remember, you must vote in at least 15 categories to be eligible for the prize drawing.

  • Winners will receive certificates courtesy of Tennessee State Parks for up to a four-night stay at any of the six state resort park inns. The resort parks are Fall Creek Falls, Henry Horton, Montgomery Bell, Natchez Trace, Paris Landing and Pickwick Landing. Visit www.tn.gov/environment/parks.
  • Each winner will receive a basket of farm-direct and locally made artisan foods from Pick Tennessee Products, a division of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.
  • The Tennessee Magazine will award $250 to each winner to spend while you’re enjoying your state park visit.

 

Adult and Junior winners of our State Parks Photography Contest

Tennesseans love their state parks! There’s no other way to describe the almost-overwhelming response to our latest Shutterbug Photography Contest celebrating the 75th anniversary of Tennessee State Parks.

Legislation passed in 1937 established the parks system and remains the framework by which the parks preserve and protect Tennessee’s historic, recreational and natural areas. Today there are 54 state parks and 82 natural areas across Tennessee, and chances are there’s at least one within an hour’s drive of your home.

For our latest Shutterbug contest, The Tennessee Magazine partnered with Tennessee State Parks to visually commemorate the system’s historic milestone. The difficult task of judging the scores of entries from readers fell to the magazine staff along with Terry Bonham, Tennessee State Parks real property coordinator; Charles Brewton, Tennessee State Parks marketing manager; Steve Ward, Radnor Lake State Natural Area park manager; and Pam Hawkins, instructor in visual communications at Nashville State Community College. Whittling down the 2,000 entries to a handful of winners was difficult, but those that made the cut reflect the variety of ways in which Tennesseans use their state parks.

“Tennessee State Parks deliver a rich fabric of natural landscapes, preserved ecologies and historically significant locations,” said Brewton. “We’re excited that our patrons have taken the opportunity to capture the beauty of what Tennessee is all about in these incredible photos.”

First-, second- and third-place winners received prize packages that included stays at park inns courtesy of Tennessee State Parks and money from The Tennessee Magazine to spend at the parks.

Learn more about Tennessee State Parks and start planning your getaway at www.tnstateparks.com.

 

Adult Winners

Junior Winners

Finalists

Shawn Taylor,  Executive Director of the Wyoming Rural Electric Association

Here’s an idea. Let’s regulate how much air we in the United States can breathe.  Then let’s gradually, or not, increase the cost for breathing until people decide not to breathe. Or better yet, let’s have people from other countries sell us and decide how much air we can breathe and at what cost. We’ll call it the “National Breathing Policy.”

OK, so that example is a bit extreme. But if you look at everything that oil and its refined products provide for our country in our everyday lives, it might not be that big of a stretch to think that we would be hard pressed to survive as the world’s only superpower without this natural resource.

The big oil derrick spewing “black gold” from the top, or an oil pump jack with its methodical motion pumping oil out of the ground, may be people’s initial visual when thinking about oil. In terms of utility, most folks probably immediately think of oil as a motor lubricant or as gasoline when refined.

I’m guessing that most people don’t think of the compact disk they use in their computer, or the detergent used to wash clothes or dishes, or maybe the petrochemicals (refined oil products) that go into making synthetic materials for clothing, bedding, outdoor recreation equipment, etc.

One only needs to take a close look at the vast uses of oil to appreciate what it means to our daily lives and realize that we need it, we have it, and that we shouldn’t have to import a majority of it from foreign countries, many of which are not friendly to the United States.

In 2008 Secretary of Energy Steven Chu remarked that Americans should “punitively pay at the pump in order to wean them [us] off of gasoline.” This is like  raising the price of the air we breathe so as to legislate or more appropriately regulate how we as citizens behave.

If the current administration had its way, we as a country would pay considerably more for oil, so that we would use less. This is similar to their approach to the use of coal. Make it more expensive, even prohibitively more expensive to use so that we would use less.

On its surface, using less of our natural resources isn’t a bad ingredient for an energy policy – as long as we can stay as productive as we are and historically have been.

But being forced or regulated into using a more expensive and less reliable substitute is counter-productive. And not allowing domestic production of oil or any of our abundant natural resources is equally counter-productive.

When I worked in D.C. for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, we continually invited members of Congress to travel to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to see first-hand what was being proposed for oil-and-gas development. We mainly focused on those members who time and again opposed drilling in ANWR, and we never got any takers.

In my opinion, it was because they didn’t want to see with their own eyes what could be done, and what has been done. That way, they could continue to tell their constituents, without having all the facts, that we shouldn’t develop this “pristine area.” This is our country’s current energy policy; don’t develop what we have, let’s import what others have.

Much like the past two resources we’ve highlighted in WREN (coal and natural gas), oil has played a pivotal role in Wyoming’s past by providing good-paying, stable jobs, revenue to the state coffers, and a source of energy across the country.  Unlike coal and natural gas however, oil production in Wyoming has been continually declining over the past few decades. However, new exploration and extraction technology (i.e. using CO2 for tertiary recovery) will help Wyoming continue to play a role in providing this vital domestic natural resource.