Powell Valley Electric Cooperative employees serve first responders

NEW TAZEWELL – Employees of Powell Valley Electric Cooperative hosted a lunch in honor of the First Responders who serve our counties as part of the Tennessee Electric Co-op Day of Service on Thursday, Oct. 18.

“We love the communities we serve,” says Charles “Bo” Goodin, assistant general manager and coordinator for the day of service project for Powell Valley Electric.  “In many situations our employees are first on the scene, and it was a privilege to show our appreciation for our fellow First Responders.”

First Responders in each county served by Powell Valley Electric Cooperative were invited to their areas cooperative office to enjoy a barbeque lunch.  Those who participated in the event were local EMT, fire departments, law enforcement agencies, rescue squads, and medical helicopter agencies.

“Service to community is the only reason we exist,” says Mike Knotts, interim CEO of Powell Valley Electric. “We have a mission to improve everyday life in the communities we serve, and that mission goes far beyond simply keeping the lights on. First Responders are assets to our community, and we are proud to partner with them.”

The Tennessee Electric Co-op Day of Service is coordinated by the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. More than 425 electric co-op employees devoted more than 1,000 volunteer hours to local community service projects across the state during this year’s event.

Powell Valley Electric Cooperative is a consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric utility that provides safe, reliable and affordable energy to more than 30,000 meters in Scott, Lee and Wise counties in Virginia and Claiborne, Hancock, Hawkins, Grainger and Union counties in Tennessee. To learn more about Powell Valley Electric Cooperative visit our website at pve.coop or like us on Facebook.

POWELL VALLEY ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE SENDS ASSISTANCE TO FLORIDA TO ASSIST WITH HURRICANE MICHAEL RECOVERY EFFORTS

NEW TAZEWELL- Powell Valley Electric Cooperative is sending thirteen lineworkers to Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative in Live Oak, Florida to assist with Hurricane Michael recovery efforts.

The strongest storm to hit the Florida panhandle in recorded history, the Category 4 hurricane is expected to bring strong wind and significant rainfall to the northern Gulf Coast, and Powell Valley crews will be assisting with the recovery effort as soon as it is safe to work.

“Strong storms like this can leave thousands of people without power,” says PVEC Interim CEO Mike Knotts. “We are proud of our linemen for volunteering to assist our fellow citizens in Florida. I pray a large-scale natural disaster like this never impacts southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee, but if it did I know that hundreds of our fellow electric lineworkers from across the country would come to our aid.”

Crews left from PVEC’s New Tazewell headquarters this morning and are expected to arrive in Live Oak, Florida, on Wednesday night. It is unclear how long they will be in Florida.

“We ask that the public keep these brave men and their families in your thoughts and prayers while they are away,” said Knotts. “They will be working long days in difficult conditions, but they were quick to respond to the call for help. I hope PVEC members are as proud of these brave men as I am.”

Crews from Powell Valley Electric are joining more than 100 other lineworkers from electric co-ops across Tennessee, and hundreds more from 12 southeastern states, who will be assisting with hurricane recovery efforts. The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association in Nashville is coordinating requests for mutual aid and makes travel and lodging arrangements for crews who respond.

Powell Valley Electric Cooperative is a consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric utility that provides safe, reliable and affordable energy to more than 30,000 meters in Scott, Lee and Wise counties in Virginia and Claiborne, Hancock, Hawkins, Grainger and Union counties in Tennessee. Learn more about Powell Valley Electric Cooperative at pve.coop.

POWELL VALLEY ELECTRIC WARNS OF ELECTRIC BILL SCAM

Recently, PVEC members have been receiving phone calls from people claiming to represent the cooperative staff and threatening to disconnect service. Scammers insist your electric bill needs to be paid immediately or your electric service will be disconnected.  Below are suggestions to follow should you receive such a call.

If you receive a call from someone claiming to be a representative of the cooperative, do not give out any personal or financial information.

“If you feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, ask for the caller’s name, hang up the phone and call your local cooperative office,” says Lisa Tarver, PVEC billing supervisor.  “Do not use a phone number provided by the caller.  Locate the correct phone number on your energy bill or at www.pve.coop.  This will ensure you are speaking to a PVEC representative.”

Because PVEC does sometimes contact members by phone, it can be difficult to identify a scammer from a cooperative representative.  Here are some tips:

  • If a caller specifically asks you to pay by prepaid debit card.
  • If a caller requires you to make an immediate payment or one that could only be made over the phone, PVEC will not require either.
  • Powell Valley Electric has a 24-hour answering service available to its co-op members. If there’s a question about the legitimacy of the call, tell the caller you are going to call the Cooperative before paying – then do so.
  • Don’t trust your caller ID! Scammers have the ability to use different phone numbers on your caller ID, making it appear the phone call is coming from another party.

If you receive a suspicious call, try to gather as much information as possible.  After calling the cooperative to confirm they did not contact you, notify local law enforcement.

Powell Valley Electric Cooperative is a consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric utility that serves more than 30,000 meters in Scott, Lee and Wise counties in Virginia and Claiborne, Hancock, Hawkins, Grainger and Union counties in Tennessee.

Powell Valley Electric Cooperative announces Safety Milestone and new ways to save money on your electric bill

Beginning October 1, PVEC will begin offering new incentives as a part of the New Homes Program. Through this program, installation of high efficiency heating and air conditioning equipment or conventional electric water heaters will result in cash rebates.  The New Home Program offers incentives up to $1,000 per home.

For existing homes customers can participate in the E-score program, which provides simple and easy do-it-yourself tips to eliminate energy waste and lower your electric bill. For more extensive needs, the cooperative can assist in scheduling an energy audit. PVEC is pleased to offer these incentives for our members and is committed to always providing safe, reliable and affordable electricity to our members.

Additionally, PVEC was recently awarded certificates of achievement by the Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives. The award recognizes the cooperative for achieving over 100,000 hours worked by cooperative employees without a lost-time accident.  “Our employees go through extensive and ongoing safety trainings throughout the year,” said Interim CEO Mike Knotts.  “The safety of our lineworkers is our highest priority, and this milestone represents a great accomplishment that they have worked hard to achieve. We are certainly proud of the dedication to safety they demonstrate each day, and the incredible efforts they give to keep the lights on – oftentimes in very difficult circumstances.”

Powell Valley Electric Cooperative is a consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric utility that serves more than 30,000 meters in Scott, Lee and Wise counties in Virginia and Claiborne, Hancock, Hawkins, Grainger and Union counties in Tennessee.  Learn more about Powell Valley Electric Cooperative at pve.coop.

Powell Valley Electric Cooperative manager announces retirement

Mike Knotts Interim CEO

NEW TAZEWELL – Powell Valley Electric Cooperative today announced the upcoming retirement of long-time co-op general manager Randell Meyers. Meyers began working at the co-op as a laborer in 1964 and was named general manager in 1992.

During his time at Powell Valley Electric Cooperative, Meyers has overseen several significant improvements to the operation of the cooperative, including the construction of a 20 megawatt backup generation facility, the deployment of new technology that improves the speed of outage restoration and the recent move to a new office building. These projects, among others, have saved ratepayers over $60M which has allowed the co-op to charge the lowest residential electric rate to any rural consumer in East Tennessee and southwest Virginia.

“The board is grateful to Randell for his service and commitment to the cooperative,” says Roger Ball, president of the Powell Valley Electric Cooperative board of directors. “Randell has provided wise counsel and sound leadership for the cooperative for more than 54 years. We wish Randell nothing but the best in his retirement.”

The board has named Michael Knotts as interim CEO. Knotts serves as the Vice President of Government Affairs for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association in Nashville. He will oversee the daily operations of the cooperative though the end of the year and lead the search for a new permanent manager.

“We appreciate Mike’s willingness to serve our co-op as interim CEO,” says Ball. “The board is confident that Mike and the rest of the team at Powell Valley will continue to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy for our consumers and the communities that we serve.”

Powell Valley Electric Cooperative is a consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric utility that serves more than 30,000 meters in Scott, Lee and Wise counties in Virginia and Claiborne, Hancock, Hawkins, Grainger and Union counties in Tennessee

Learn more about Powell Valley Electric Cooperative at pve.coop.

PVEC sends short-story winners on Washington Youth Tour

Students from Powell Valley Electric’s service area spent a week in our nation’s capital as delegates of the 2018 Washington Youth Tour.   Bailey Hopkins, Hancock County High School, Taylor Kinsler and Katie Nichols, Clinch High School, and Brittany Cruz, Claiborne High School were among 135 students from across Tennessee on the weeklong trip that began Friday, June 8.

The annual event, sponsored by Powell Valley Electric Cooperative 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 winning short stories titled “Electric Cooperatives — Going Beyond the Wires” that explained how co-ops provide communities with much more than electric power.

“Powell Valley Electric Cooperative is pleased to provide this opportunity for the young people in the communities we serve,” says Randell Meyers, general manager for Powell Valley Electric Cooperative. “It is a great trip and a wonderful chance for these delegates to learn about history, government, co-ops and leadership.”

“The investments co-ops make in Youth Tour pay real dividends for these young people and the communities where they live,” said Todd Blocker, vice president of member relations for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association and tour director. “They come home with a deeper understanding of history and government. More importantly, we want them to be prepared to have a positive influence on their hometowns and to consider leadership roles when the opportunities come along.”

While in Washington, D.C., Tennessee’s Youth Tour delegates saw the White House and memorials to past presidents Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt as well as monuments honoring the sacrifices of veterans of World War II and the Vietnam and Korean Wars. During visits to the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, the touring Tennesseans saw and experienced natural, historical and artistic treasures. Other stops included historic homes of former presidents — George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Jefferson’s Monticello — as well as Toby’s Dinner Theatre, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and International Spy Museum. Among other Youth Tour highlights was a solemn and sobering visit to Arlington National Cemetery where the group laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. The group was welcomed to the U.S. Capitol by Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and members of the Tennessee congressional delegation who posed for photos and answered questions.

While in D.C., winners were announced in the statewide competition for the Robert McCarty Memorial Scholarships. Silas Freeze from Gibson Electric Membership Corporation was awarded the $3,000 first-place scholarship for writing the top-judged short story of the more than 10,000 papers submitted across the state. McKinley Thomas from Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative earned second-place honors and a $2,000 scholarship, and Mary Kate Sheppard from Forked Deer Electric Cooperative, third place, received a $1,000 scholarship. McCarty was an employee of Volunteer Energy Cooperative and longtime chaperone on the annual Youth Tour. McCarty lost a battle with cancer in 2015, and sponsoring cooperatives renamed the scholarships in honor of his love for young people.

Matthew Byrd of Tipton County, a recent graduate of Munford High School, was awarded a $10,000 Cooperative Youth Ambassador Scholarship. Byrd was a 2017 delegate for Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation on the Washington Youth Tour. In the year following the tour, delegates who remain engaged with their sponsoring cooperatives and complete certain community service requirements are eligible for the scholarship. Byrd’s name was randomly selected from 37 delegates from across the state who completed the requirements.

“The excitement that co-op leaders and chaperones have for these students tells the story,” said David Callis, CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “These young people are the next generation of doctors and teachers and farmers in the communities we serve. We want them to be passionate about their communities and prepared to lead when those opportunities come along.”

President Lyndon Johnson, then a senator from Texas, inspired the Washington Youth 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 on the Washington Youth Tour.

In front of the U.S. Capitol are, from left, Jessica Smith, Taylor Kinsler, Bailey Hopkins, Brittany Cruz and Katie Nichols

Local Students Depart for Nation’s Capital

More than 135 students from across Tennessee are headed to Washington, D.C., as a part of the 2018 Washington Youth Tour later. The annual event, which begins on Friday, June 8, provides young leaders with an opportunity to explore the nation’s capital, learn about government and develop their leadership skills.

Participating in this year’s trip are Bailey Hopkins from Hancock County High School; Taylor Kinsler and Katie Nichols from Clinch High School and Brittany Cruz from Claiborne High School.  These students are being sponsored by Powell Valley Electric Cooperative.

The Washington Youth Tour is sponsored by the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association and local electric cooperatives from across the state. Students were selected for the trip by writing a short story titled “Electric Cooperatives – Going Beyond the Wires” that explains how co-ops provide communities with much more than electric power.

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.  Politicians, business leaders, authors and athletes are Washington Youth Tour alumni, including Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Local young leaders learn about government during electric co-op event in Nashville

Clinch High School student Noah Jones and Claiborne High School student Mary Lipfird were in Nashville March 12-14 for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association’s annual Youth Leadership Summit. These students were selected by the principal and guidance counselor at the school and were sponsored by Powell Valley Electric Cooperative.  Delegates to the annual event receive a hands-on look at state government, learn networking and leadership skills and develop a better understanding of their local electric cooperatives.

While in Nashville, the students visited the State Capitol Building where they were welcomed to Nashville by members of the Tennessee General Assembly. Alan Whittington, assistant chief clerk of the Senate, explained the process required to pass legislation, and students debated and voted on a mock bill.

In addition to lawmakers, students also heard from Tennessee leaders like Ms. Tennessee 2018 Caty Davis; Adam Hammond, anchor for Nashville’s NewsChannel5; and Trooper Jeffrey Buchanan with the Tennessee Executive Protection Detail.

Delegates to the Youth Leadership Summit are encouraged to be leaders in their hometowns and 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, Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association vice president of member relations and director of the Youth Leadership Summit. “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,” says Randell Meyers, General Manager of Powell Valley Electric Cooperative.  “We want them to share our passion for rural Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, so it is an honor for Powell Valley Electric Cooperative to help prepare them for the opportunities that are ahead. We want them to see what makes their electric cooperative special.  We want them to appreciate all their co-op provides for their communities and understand why it was so important to form electric co-ops in the first place.  The future of our rural communities depends on a new generation of strong leaders like these.”

 

Spotting Energy Myths

Eating carrots will greatly improve your eyesight, cracking your knuckles leads to arthritis, watching too much TV will harm your vision. We’ve all heard the old wives’ tales, but did you know there are also many misconceptions about home energy use?

Don’t be fooled by these common energy myths.

Myth: The higher the thermostat setting, the faster the home will heat (or cool).

Many people think that walking into a chilly room and raising the thermostat to 85 degrees will heat the room more quickly. This is not true.

Thermostats direct a home’s HVAC system to heat or cool to a certain temperature. Drastically adjusting the thermostat setting will not make a difference in how quickly you feel warmer. The same is true for cooling. The Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78 degrees during summer months, and 68 degrees during winter months.

Myth: Opening the oven door to check on a dish doesn’t really waste energy.

While it can be tempting to check the progress of that dish you’re cooking in the oven, opening the oven door does waste energy. Every time the oven door is opened, the temperature inside is reduced by as much as 25 degrees, delaying the progress of your dish and, more importantly, costing you additional money. If you need to check the progress of a dish, try using the oven light instead.

Myth: Ceiling fans keep your home cool while you’re away.

Believe it or not, many people think this is true. Ceiling fans cool people, not rooms. Ceiling fans circulate room air but do not change the temperature. A running ceiling fan in an empty room is only adding to your electricity use. Remember to turn fans off when you’re away and reduce your energy use.

Myth: Reducing my energy use is too expensive.

Many consumers believe that reducing energy use requires expensive up-front costs, like purchasing new, more efficient appliances or construction upgrades to an older home. But the truth is, consumers who make small changes to their energy efficiency habits, such as turning off lights when not in use, sealing air leaks and using a programmable thermostat, can see a reduction in energy consumption.

Remember, energy efficiency doesn’t have to be difficult. Focus on small changes to save big. Learn more about ways to save energy here or by contacting your local PVEC office.