Sharing and Listening: Holston Electric Cooperative Looks for Member Input
Rural electric cooperatives are supposed to be democratically governed, but too often we see co-ops operating without member input. Holston Electric Cooperative (HEC) in Tennessee is an example of a co-op that has chosen to operate in a true cooperative fashion and foster open communication with its members. Check out how HEC is engaging its members on issues from broadband to herbicide spraying.



Announcing the High Country Home Energy Makeover
We are hosting a Home Energy Makeover contest in North Carolina’s High Country to help families manage their energy costs and make their homes more comfortable. One grand-prize winner will receive $2,500 in home energy improvements, which may include insulation and air sealing. Only Blue Ridge Energy residential members are eligible. Learn more about the contest and how to apply.



TVA’s “New Pricing Paradigm” is a bad deal for communities and clean energy
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a federally-owned (but self-regulated) electric utility that controls the generation and distribution of electricity in the state of Tennessee and parts of six other surrounding areas. The utility recently proposed a new rate structure that involves a new fixed charge TVA is calling a “Grid Access Fee.” This is an act that will affect all electric customers in the Tennessee Valley. See how people are starting to take action and what it might mean for you.



Energy efficiency could result in tremendous public health benefits
We love energy efficiency for a lot of reasons, but it can be easy to forget just how wide ranging the impacts of this technology really are. A recent study by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy found that reducing energy use in the US by a mere 15% could save lives and billions of dollars. Find out why energy efficiency should be part of the national conversation on public health.



Will You be Paying for Duke’s Mistakes?
Duke Energy was granted permission to raise its fixed monthly charges by 25% and is allowed to raise rates to $232 million in order to pay for coal ash clean up. How will this affect your bill and your electric co-op?

This rate hike will also affect co-ops across North Carolina. Roanoke Electric hasn’t adjusted their rate for six years to help their community afford their bills. Now, they may be forced to because of Duke’s mistakes.


Take Action!
The Tennessee Valley Authority is holding a comment period for their integrated resource plan. Comments are due by April 16.
Comments can be made by mail, by email, at an open house or on their website.


Energy Efficiency Task Force Volunteer Night
Come to our Boone office from 6-8pm on March 28 to work with us on our campaign projects. We will have free pizza and soda!

Community Forum: Electric Cooperative Member 101
Come learn about what your rights and responsibilities are as a member-owner of an electric cooperative. We will also teach you about co-op history, structure and decision-making, and how some co-ops are finding ways to engage in positive two-way communication with membership.

There will be two meetings, one at the Thorn Hill Community Center on March 27th at 956 Mountain Valley Hwy 131, Thorn Hill TN 37881 from 6:30-8pm and another at the Sharps Chapel Community Center in Sharps Chapel, Tenn. on April 4 from 7-9pm. Refreshments will be provided. If you want a presentation like this in your area, contact us at (865) 291-0083 or email

Save the date: East TN Honey Convention!
Featuring over 60 classes, workshops and lectures from beekeepers from all walks of life. Join and learn all about beekeeping, helping native pollinators and all things HONEY related. April 20-21 at Walters State Community College in Tazewell TN. Tickets $20-$30.

Screening of Look & See: Wendell Berry's KY
A cinematic portrait of farmer and writer Wendell Berry. Through his eyes, we see both the changing landscapes of rural America in the era of industrial agriculture and the redemptive beauty in taking the unworn path. Hosted by East TN PBS and Appalachian Voices. Thurs, April 12 from 7-9 pm at The Paramount Center for the Arts in Bristol, TN.


Energy Savings Tip—Energy Star Appliances
Are you falling out of love with your old refrigerator? If it’s over 15 years old, you may want to consider replacing it with an efficient, Energy Star certified model to save on electricity costs and reduce your carbon footprint. Check out the Energy Star website to calculate how much you can save, view other certified appliances and find rebates available in your local area.

CONTEST: Share your home energy improvements with us, and you could win some Appalachian Voices gear! Send pictures to by March 31.