In East Tennessee, residents view the Tennessee Valley Authority’s original purpose of providing electricity while also serving the “common good” as a relic of the past. Bill McCabe, a resident of Hancock County, which has the second-highest poverty rate in the state, expressed this sentiment at a meeting in August organized by Appalachian Voices. Other community members and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy were also present to offer suggestions for energy efficiency programs with TVA representatives.
Also in August was the annual TVA board meeting, where the Tennessee team worked on generating public comments and organizing local voices to speak to the need for stronger investments in energy efficiency improvements for low-income residents.
Meanwhile, our VISTA Tennessee Outreach Associate Lou Murrey continues to document families who struggle with high energy bills. In her recent blog, “Energy Bill Acrobatics,” Lou profiled the Schmidt family of Tazewell, who find themselves in a budgeting balancing act with needed home repair and a son with disabilities. Lou has been sharing energy efficiency information with community members who have few resources, by setting up an educational table at food banks.