Tennessee electric cooperatives visit D.C. lawmakers

[CO-OP HEADQUARTERS CITY] – Members from [CO-OP NAME] visited with [CONGRESSMAN NAME] on Thursday, June 23, in Washington, D.C. They joined more than 40 co-op leaders from across the state meeting with Tennessee’s Congressional delegation.

“An important part of our mission to provide affordable and reliable energy is educating our elected officials about co-ops,” says [CO-OP DIRECTOR NAME], a director with [CO-OP NAME]. “These visits help them better understand the issues that concern co-ops and co-op members.”

“Elected representatives make decisions and pass laws that have serious consequences for Tennessee’s electric cooperatives and their members,” says David Callis, executive vice president of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “It is important that we tell the electric cooperative story and inform Members of Congress of the impact of proposed legislation.”

Co-op members discussed environmental and power supply issues with Members of Congress during their visits. “It is important that we communicate with how legislation affects rates and reliability for everyday Tennesseans,” says Callis.

[LOCAL CO-OP BOILERPLATE]

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. The association publishes The Tennessee Magazine and provides legislative and support services to Tennessee’s electric cooperatives. Learn more at tnelectric.org.

#  #  #

Contact:

[LOCAL CO-OP CONTACT INFO]

Trent Scott | Vice President of Corporate Strategy
Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association
tscott@tnelectric.org | 731.608.1519

Photo:

http://www.tnelectric.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/capvisits.jpg

Cutline: Electric cooperative leaders Jimmy Sandlin and Michael Watson discuss energy issues with Sen. Bob Corker in Washington, D.C., on June 23.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Move Over and Save a Life

Five years after the Tennessee’s Move Over Law was expanded to include utility workers, lineman continue to face roadside hazards

 

[HEADQUARTERS CITY] – In 2011, following efforts by Tennessee’s electric cooperatives and municipal utilities, the state’s Move Over law was revised to not only include police, firefighters and other first responders, but utility workers as well. Unfortunately, motorists do not always heed the law.

[CO-OP LINEMAN QUOTE – DESCRIBE A CLOSE CALL OR USE THIS SAMPLE] “We have to concentrate on the dangers on the pole and on the ground. We have had cars come through way too fast, hitting the cones we have set up and clipping the outriggers that we have down to support the trucks,” says [LINEMAN NAME, TITLE]. “We see lots of people looking at their phones and not paying attention like they should.”

The requirements of the 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.

“July marks the 5th anniversary of the expansion of the law, but most motorists are still not aware of it,” says [CO-OP CEO NAME, TITLE, CO-OP]. “Our lineman perform an important job for our community. Changing lanes or slowing down to give them a little space is a simple courtesy that could save a life.”

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

 

[CO-OP BOILERPLATE]

 

The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association provides legislative and communication support for Tennessee’s 23 electric cooperatives and publishes The Tennessee Magazine, the state’s most widely circulated periodical. Visit tnelectric.org or tnmagazine.org to learn more.

 

# # #

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

[CO-OP MEDIA CONTACT INFORMATION]

Trent Scott | Vice President of Strategy | 615.515.5534 | tscott@tnelectric.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Local Students Depart for Nation’s Capital

[HEADQUARTERS CITY] – [XX] students from [COUNTY NAME or REGION] are headed to Washington, D.C. as a part of the 2016 Washington Youth Tour. [STUDENT NAME AND SCHOOL], [STUDENT NAME AND SCHOOL] and [STUDENT NAME AND SCHOOL] will join more than 130 other students from across Tennessee on the weeklong trip beginning on Friday, June 10.

The annual event, sponsored by [CO-OP NAME] and the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, provides young leaders with an opportunity to explore the nation’s capital, learn about government and cooperatives and develop their leadership skills. Students were selected for the trip by writing a short story titled “Electric Cooperatives – Powering Everyday Life” that explains how co-ops provide communities with much more than electric power.

“The youth tour is an incredible opportunity for these students to actually experience history up-close and personal,” says [CO-OP EMPLOYEE, TITLE]. “Delegates experience a whirlwind of a week, visiting museums, monuments and other landmarks.”

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.

[CO-OP BOILERPLATE]

The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association provides legislative and communication support for Tennessee’s 23 electric cooperatives and publishes The Tennessee Magazine, the state’s most widely circulated periodical. Visit tnelectric.org or tnmagazine.org to learn more.

 

# # #

 

MEDIA ADVISORY

Students will be departing from [LOCATION] on [DATE, TIME]. Media is invited and interviews can be arranged.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

[CO-OP MEDIA CONTACT INFORMATION]

Trent Scott | Vice President of Strategy | 615.515.5534 | tscott@tnelectric.org

CO-OP GOVERNANCE
Talking Points | May 2016

 

Electric cooperatives are member-owned and not-for-profit.
Electric cooperatives are owned by the consumers they serve. These consumers are members of the cooperative. Co-ops provide cost-based power to their members.

Electric cooperatives are member-regulated.
Co-op members elect a board of directors who oversee the activities of the cooperative, including rates, establishing policies and procedures and approving budgets. Co-ops are further regulated by the Tennessee Valley Authority, their power supplier and an agency of the federal government.

A co-op member can seek a nomination to the board of directors.
[Provide information on your co-op’s nomination and/or petition process, including dates.]

All co-op members are encouraged to vote in the annual board election.
[Provide information on your co-op’s election, including dates.]

Tennessee co-ops are private corporations.
Co-ops are not subject to sunshine laws or open records requirements.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

[Politician name] visits [co-op name]

[CITY] – [Politician Name] met with leaders from [co-op] today in [location] to tour the co-op’s facilities and better understand how the utility operates.

[briefly describe visit]

[quote from politician]

“Electric cooperatives like [co-op] are not-for-profit and member-owned. That makes us rather unusual in the utility world,” says [co-op] [president title and name. “Each year [politician] reviews several pieces of legislation that can impact how we operate. Visits like this allow him to meet our employees and see the work that goes into providing our members with affordable and reliable power.”

“[Politician name] has always been supportive of our work at [co-op],” says [co-op leader last name]. “We know his time is valuable, and we appreciate him taking the time to visit with us.”

[co-op boilerplate]

 

#   #   #

 

Contact:

 

 

Co-op Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

NASHVILLE – [HIGH SCHOOL NAME] student [NAME] and [HIGH SCHOOL NAME] student [NAME] were in Nashville March 21-23 for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association’s annual Youth Leadership Summit. These students were chosen and sponsored by [CO-OP NAME].

Speaker Beth Harwell welcomed attendees to Nashville on Tuesday morning, March 22, in the House Chamber of the Tennessee State Capitol and spent time explaining her role as Speaker of the House and the process that is required to pass legislation.

Rep. Kevin Dunlap also addressed the group and encouraged students to stay active and involved. “You are already leaders or you would not be here today,” he said. He also helped students understand the role electric cooperatives play in rural Tennessee. “The electric co-ops were created because there was a problem: rural Tennessee did not have the privilege of electricity,” said Dunlap. “Our leaders and citizens worked together to form the electric cooperatives and solve the problem.”

[SPECIFICALLY MENTION LOCAL REPS IN ATTENDANCE OR USE THE PARAGRAPH BELOW]

Senators Mike Bell, Richard Briggs and Ferrell Haile and Representatives Kent Calfee, Kevin Dunlap, Dan Howell, Jay Reedy and David Shepard joined Harwell and Dunlap for a town hall meeting with students in the House Chamber.

The theme of this year’s summit was “Small Towns, Big Ideas,” and attendees were encouraged to use their talents to improve rural Tennessee. “Local electric co-ops, school officials and guidance counselors chose these deserving students to attend the summit based on their interests in government and strong leadership abilities,” says Todd Blocker, vice president of member relations for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “During this year’s Youth Leadership Summit, we taught these exceptional students that advances in technology have created unique career opportunities in their hometowns. They will be the next generation of leaders in rural Tennessee, and we want to prepare them for the challenges and opportunities they will face.”

“These students will soon be our community leaders — and electric cooperative member-owners,” said [CO-OP LEADER NAME, TITLE]. “We want them to share our passion for rural [REGION, COUNTY, COMMUNITY…], so it is an honor for [CO-OP NAME] help prepare them for the opportunities that are ahead. We need their talents and leadership more than ever.”

[CO-OP BOILERPLATE]

The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association provides legislative and communication support for Tennessee’s 23 electric cooperatives and publishes The Tennessee Magazine, the state’s most widely circulated periodical. Visit tnelectric.org or tnmagazine.org to learn more.

# # #

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

[CO-OP MEDIA CONTACT INFORMATION]
Trent Scott | Vice President of Strategy | 731.608.1519 | tscott@tnelectric.org

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Members take co-op message to legislators

NASHVILLE – Directors and staff from [CO-OP NAME] were among more than 200 electric co-op leaders in Nashville on Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 9 and 10, for the 2016 Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association’s Legislative Conference. [CO-OP NAME] directors [DIRECTOR NAMES] joined [CO-OP STAFF NAMES AND TITLES] in meetings with legislators on Capitol Hill to help them better understand electric cooperatives and the issues that impact rural and suburban Tennessee.

House Speaker Beth Harwell welcomed the group to Nashville. “You serve 71 percent of our state and 2.5 million Tennesseans,” she said. “We recognize the impact you have on our state.”

Tennessee’s electric cooperatives maintain a visible presence in Nashville and Washington, D.C., to protect the interests of co-op members. “We are here to give a voice to rural Tennesseans,” 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.”

“Decisions made in Nashville can have serious consequences for our co-op, our members and the communities we serve,” says [CO-OP LEADER, TITLE]. “We have a responsibility to our members to see that their voice is heard.” Attendees reminded legislators that co-ops are not-for-profit, member-owned and -regulated private businesses that impact rural and suburban Tennessee in many ways.

Visits focused on specific legislation that impacts co-ops and the communities they serve. Co-op leaders expressed support for a bill that allows electric co-ops to provide broadband Internet service. “We serve the areas with the greatest need for broadband,” says Mike Knotts, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “We have a role to play in bringing high-speed connectivity to rural Tennessee.” Co-ops also voiced their support of legislation that modernizes the tax code for co-ops and discussed the impact of the recent Supreme Court decision to halt implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.

“Educated and informed legislators are necessary for us to provide low-cost, reliable power, and our members make a powerful impression when they come to Nashville,” says Knotts. More than 100 legislative visits were made during the conference, and dozens of legislators from across the state attended a reception honoring members of the Tennessee General Assembly.

[CO-OP BOILERPLATE]

The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association provides legislative and communication support for Tennessee’s 23 electric cooperatives and publishes The Tennessee Magazine, the state’s most widely circulated periodical. Visit tnelectric.org or tnmagazine.org to learn more.

# # #

FOR MORE INFORMATION
[CO-OP MEDIA CONTACT INFORMATION]
Trent Scott | Vice President of Strategy | 615.515.5534 | tscott@tnelectric.org

Below is information for co-ops regarding the Broadband Expansion Act.


Talking Points

Tennessee’s electric cooperatives support The Broadband Expansion Act (SB 2512/HB 2408).

Almost one in three rural Tennesseans served by an electric cooperative does not have access to wired broadband that meets modern standards. This places a burden on rural communities to remain competitive and seriously impacts commerce, healthcare and education.

The Broadband Expansion Act removes legal barriers that currently prevent electric cooperatives from providing broadband access. Electric cooperatives in Tennessee serve 71 percent of the state’s landmass, including a majority of areas that lack access to high-speed Internet.

Electric cooperatives are private, not-for-profit, member-owned businesses that exist to serve rural and suburban Tennessee. Tennessee’s cooperatives were created to bring electricity to rural and suburban Tennessee, an act that created opportunity for generations of Tennesseans and changed the landscape of our state. Co-ops are uniquely positioned to provide real solutions to Tennessee’s need for broadband access.

The Broadband Expansion Act was introduced on Monday, Feb. 22, by Rep. Art Swann.

It will be considered by the House Business and Utilities Subcommittee at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

 


Co-op Statement

[Co-op name] today announces its support of The Broadband Expansion Act (SB 2512/HB 2408).

“We are well aware of the need for broadband in our service area,” says [name, title] with [co-op]. “We have been prevented by Tennessee state law from providing broadband access to our members, but the Broadband Expansion Act opens the door for new solutions. We are excited about the opportunities this presents to our members and the communities we serve.”

Access to wired broadband that meets modern standards is unavailable to almost one in three Tennesseans served by an electric cooperative. The Broadband Expansion Act removes legal barriers that currently prevent the state’s not-for-profit, member-owned electric cooperatives from providing broadband access.

#   #   #


TECA Statement

NASHVILLE, Feb. 23, 2016 – Tennessee’s electric cooperatives today announce their support of The Broadband Expansion Act (SB 2512/HB 2408).

“Limited access to high-speed Internet has had a profound impact on rural and suburban Tennessee. New solutions are needed to provide these communities with the opportunities that lie just around the corner or right down the street,” says David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “Co-ops have a legacy of expanding services beyond the city limits. A generation ago, the issue was power; today it is broadband.”

Access to wired broadband that meets modern standards is unavailable to almost one in three Tennesseans served by an electric cooperative. The Broadband Expansion Act removes legal barriers that currently prevent the state’s not-for-profit, member-owned electric cooperatives from providing broadband access.

The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association provides legislative and communication support for Tennessee’s 23 electric cooperatives and publishes The Tennessee Magazine, the state’s most widely circulated periodical. Visit tnelectric.org or tnmagazine.org to learn more.

#   #   #

Contact:
Trent Scott | Director of Corporate Strategy | tscott@tnelectric.org | 731.608.1519

 

 

Tennessee Linemen Answer the Call

“I knew things were going to be difficult for Tennessee,” says Sid Sperry, director of public relations, communications and research at the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives. In 2007, Sperry — with the assistance of Steve Piltz of the National Weather Service office in Tulsa, Okla. — developed the Sperry-Piltz Ice Accumulation Index, or SPIA Index, a prediction tool that projects the footprint, ice accumulation and damage from approaching ice storms.

Three days before freezing rain, trees and power lines began to fall on Saturday, Feb. 21, Tennessee co-ops were aware that the SPIA Index was predicting widespread damage, including a Level 4 event in part of the state. “A L­­evel 4 event means significant damage and prolonged power outages,” says Sperry.

“Ice is different from tornadoes and thunderstorms,” says Aaron Hood, a service foreman for Volunteer Energy Cooperative in Benton. “In those types of events, you might have severe damage in some areas and no damage in others. But with ice, the damage is widespread.

“The entire (Cumberland) Plateau suffered severe damage. We saw areas where everything was covered in an inch of ice. The weight brought down trees, poles, all of it.”

Hood left home on Saturday, Feb. 21, and did not return home until Tuesday, March 3, working about 16 hours each day. “We would work from daylight until 10 p.m. or midnight,” Hood says.

“These folks can’t get their power on themselves; they need our help,” he says. “I think about the elderly. That’s someone’s mother or father, and we are accountable to those people. We have a responsibility — a privilege — to help them. In an event like this, when you know it will take several days to help everyone, it is a marathon — mentally and physically. We are not reconnecting meters; we are reconnecting people.”

The Feb. 21 event and another the previous week left their marks on Tennessee: more than $10 million in damage and 1,000 broken poles across the state. Some 500 lineworkers from Tennessee and surrounding states descended on the areas of greatest damage, working for days to restore service to co-op members.

“These are special people,” says David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “The conditions are brutal and dangerous, yet they keep working. It is an honor to be associated with them.”

Hood was moved by the response restoration crews received from members: “They gave us meals, coffee and doughnuts. People I had never met hugged us. They went out of their way to show their hospitality and appreciation. Everyone was working together to help each other.”

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

National Lineman Appreciation Day is Monday, April 13. In Tennessee, there are more than 700 co-op linemen who restore power during outages and maintain 86,000 miles of distribution lines and equipment. Linemen put their lives on the line every day to serve our communities. Help us tell them “Thanks!” by posting on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #ThankAlinemanTN. We will share your messages with co-op linemen across the state.