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In Tennessee, Powell Valley Electric Co-op members speak out

Bee keepers in Claiborne Co., Tenn.

Electric co-ops are governed by boards who are democratically elected, and therefore supposedly responsive to their customers, who are also co-owners of these utilities. The Powell Valley Electric Cooperative in east Tennessee has stirred grave concern with its herbicide spraying policy, and members are speaking out.

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O’ TVA where art thou?

The Tennessee Valley Authority was created in the 1930s to bring cheap electricity to the most rural reaches of the Tennessee River valley. Almost a century later, many residents are struggling to pay electric bills that can be hundreds of dollars a month for their modest homes. Utility-sponsored financing to help with energy-efficiency improvements would go a long way.

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Keeping energy through the generations

“We do everything we can to keep energy,” Barbara Taylor says as she heads down the stairs to the basement of the home she has shared with her husband, Paul, in New Tazewell, Tennessee since 1980. Outside it’s a humid 78 degrees, but in the narrow basement room that houses the Taylors’ heat pump it’s cool and dry.

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