As humans, we are wired to connect. In fact, research finds that our need to connect is as fundamental as our needs for food and water. Dozens of studies have shown that people who have social support from family, friends and their community are happier, have fewer health problems and live longer.

Just as social connections make humans healthier and more productive, I propose that the connections made by Powell Valley Electric Cooperative provide similar benefits for the communities we serve.

Co-ops make connections everyday. We connect substations and meters, but those might not be the most important connections we make.

Our power grid connects communities with energy. We know that your family depends on reliable energy. We also know that factories, schools, hospitals and critical infrastructure cease to function when the power is out. I’m proud to report that our team at Powell Valley Electric Co-op kept the lights on 99.94% of the time in 2022, and we have made significant investments to improve system reliability.

Broadband infrastructure connects local communities with global knowledge and markets. Increasingly, healthcare, education, commerce and even entertainment require robust, always-on connectivity. PVEC is working to close the digital divide that exists in rural and suburban Tennessee by building more than 1,800 miles of fiber to bring high speed internet access to the communities we serve.

Youth programs connect young people with limitless opportunities. We believe in developing the future leaders of our communities. That’s why each year we invite area youth to participate in leadership development programs provided by the co-op.

Generosity connects compassion with service. Our team cares about the people and places we serve because they live here, too. Whether it is the annual Electric Co-op Day of Service or coaching a youth sports team, you will see members of our PVEC team giving back to our communities.

When we make connections, everything changes. That’s why co-ops connect.

— Brad Coppock