Local students visit nation’s capital on Washington Youth Tour

Students from Powell Valley Electric’s service area spent a week in our nation’s capital as delegates of the 2019 Washington Youth Tour. Caleb Daniels, J. Frank White Academy, Brandon Meadows and Ellie Yount, Hancock County High School, and Blaine Caylor, Claiborne High School were among 135 students from across Tennessee on the weeklong trip that began Friday, June 14.

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 short stories titled “Electric Cooperatives – Connecting Communities” that explain how co-ops provide communities with much more than electric power.

“The Youth Tour is a unique opportunity for these young people to experience history and public policy upclose and personal,” says Randell Meyers, general manager for Powell Valley Electric Cooperative. “Tour delegates experience an exciting week visiting museums, monuments and other landmarks and learning about leadership, history and government.”
“We take great pride in recognizing the best and brightest from across Tennessee,” said Todd Blocker, vice president of member relations for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association and tour director. “By honoring their accomplishments through programs like the Washington Youth Tour, we show these future leaders that their co-op cares about the future. We want these young people to come home with a better understanding of their nation and new passion to serve their community.”

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 fun stops included historic homes of former presidents — George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Jefferson’s Monticello — as well as Ford’s Theater and a boat cruise down the Potomac River. The group also paid a solemn and sobering visit to Arlington National Cemetery where the delegates laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

For many, the highlight of the trip was hearing from Holocaust survivor Ms. Esther Starobin at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Her advice to the delegates was, “Don’t be a bystander in this world. You have to know history and pay attention to it. Get involved and learn as much as you can with more than a single viewpoint.”
The group was welcomed to the U.S. Capitol by Sens. Lamar Alexander and Marsha Blackburn and members of the Tennessee congressional delegation who posed for photos and answered questions.

President Lyndon Johnson 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.


Hancock County High School student Ellie Yount and Claiborne High School student Lucas Duncan were in Nashville March 3-6 for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association’s annual Youth Leadership Summit. The juniors were chosen by school guidance counselors and 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 by members of the Tennessee General Assembly. Summit attendees also held a mock session in the Senate Chambers, debating and voting bills. In addition to lawmakers, students also heard from Tennessee leaders like Miss Tennessee 2018 Christine Williamson; Adam Hammond, anchor for Nashville’s News Channel 5; and trooper Jeffrey Buchanan and K-9 Major with the Tennessee Executive Protection Detail.

The Youth Leadership Summit also included tours of Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation in Murfreesboro and the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Gallatin Steam Plant.

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. The future of our rural communities depends on a new generation of strong leaders like these.

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.


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.


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.