September 2, 2017

Hello to Joe, our Cooperative Energy Democracy Fellow!!

We’re welcoming Joe Payne as the newest member of our East Tennessee Energy Savings team! As our Cooperative Energy Democracy Fellow (in partnership with We Own It), Joe will be working to inform and organize his fellow Powell Valley Electric Co-op member-owners on inclusive, on-bill finance programs for energy efficiency upgrades. He received an MBA from Lincoln Memorial University, has worked as an energy auditor for the Tennessee Valley Authority, and was even honored as Conservation Farmer of the Year in 1982. We can’t wait to see what he adds to his list of accomplishments!

The Power of Rural Electric Cooperatives to Transform Communities

Rural electric cooperatives were established in the 1930s to bring electricity to the people ignored by privately-owned, profit-driven utilities. Today, they are positioned to serve in an equally revolutionary role by helping to develop clean energy, economic opportunity and self-sufficiency in rural communities. Read the stories below for examples of electric co-ops fulfilling their commitment to the community, and learn more about their “radical potential” for changing how we get and use energy. (Photo courtesy of FDR Presidential Library & Museum)

Meet the Efficiency Program Helping Rural Arkansas Families

With its HELP PAYS program, Ouachita Electric Cooperative has been able to make comfortable, affordable and healthy homes a reality for more of its members. The program helps all families, including renters and low-income households, cover the upfront cost of home energy upgrades without going into debt. The co-op is on track to perform energy audits on the homes of a tenth of their residential members by the end of this year. Check out how Ouachita is harnessing energy efficiency to improve its members’ lives!

Electric Cooperatives are Cleaning Up their Energy

Rural electric cooperatives are investing more and more in renewables, a change from the coal that has traditionally been their main energy source. Not only can renewable energy, like solar and wind power, help save co-ops money, but it’s also giving rural communities opportunities for sustainable economic development. Learn more about community solar programs and how co-ops are embracing wind. (Photo by Armin Kübelbeck)

Energy News Roundup

Holston Electric Cooperative Right-of-Way Meeting
Representatives from Holston Electric Cooperative (HEC) in East Tennessee sat down last month with concerned co-op members and local beekeepers to address right-of-way maintenance. Citizens cited worker safety and declining bee populations as concerns over HEC’S new herbicide spraying schedule. Spraying is supplemental to other maintenance practices used by HEC, such as mowing and tree-trimming. Members are already seeing some follow-up from the co-op, including the option to opt-out of spraying but hope to keep the dialogue open. Find out more about the meeting.

Cumberland Gap Supports Affordable Energy Upgrades!
The Board of Mayor and Alderman of Cumberland Gap, Tenn. has shown their support for making energy efficiency accessible to families in Claiborne County. After hearing from our Energy Savings team, the board passed a resolution encouraging Powell Valley Electric Cooperative to develop a Pay as You SaveⓇ on-bill financing program. Such a program would provide co-op members with debt-free financing for energy upgrades, and similar programs have already been adopted by fourteen other electric cooperatives across the Southeast. Check out a local news report on the resolution!

Tips and Resources

Monthly Energy Savings Tip!

If you’re thinking about buying new, energy efficient windows, consider installing storm windows instead over your existing ones. The storm windows will provide some extra protection between you and the soon-to-be-chilly air outside, and they can reduce energy waste by just as much as new windows for a significantly lower cost! They also preserve the original windows, which is a bonus if your home has historic value or you simply like the appearance of your current windows. Learn how you can install storm windows! (US Air Force Photo courtesy of Airman First Class Taj V. Preciado)

Do you have an energy tip to share? Please email to submit your tip!


SEEA Annual Conference
Explore how to make “a prosperous, cleaner, and healthier Southeast” at Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance's annual conference, which will be held October 16-18 in Atlanta, Ga. Discounted registration available for attendees from government, nonprofits, and academia. Register now.


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