Neighbors Powering What Matters

Community Energy: the benefit of Alcoa Electric and TVA working together
Community Energy

Community Energy—In Our Region, Power Means More.

Blount County, Tennessee is powered by a public power model—owned by and accountable to the people who live here. So the initiatives we invest in through our power model serve one purpose: helping our communities thrive.

Because we support public power, we all benefit from Community Energy. It’s the progress our model enables — like more job opportunities thanks to thriving and growing communities, outdoor recreation made possible by our protected lands, cleaner energy sources, and much more.

A Partnership of Service

Alcoa Electric and TVA work together to power not just our homes and businesses, but our potential too — by combining efforts to help create a future we all believe in.

Working Together to Make Life in Our Community Better

Alcoa Electric and TVA were founded on a mission to serve — through reliable and affordable energy, a safe and protected environment and thriving economic development.

Alcoa Electric provides electricity to 31,000 customers, 26,100 of which are residential, covering a little more than half of Blount County in East Tennessee, including the City of Alcoa.

The local power company (LPC) embraces the spirit of community energy by cultivating cooperative relationships with other LPCs and TVA. Ryan Trentham, P.E. Electric Director, Alcoa Electric says, “We work very closely with City of Maryville Electric and their electric department director Baron Swafford. We meet and collaborate on a regular basis. It is a true partnership. In January of 2022, when Alcoa had a substantial amount of snowstorm damage, the area they support was spared, so Baron and his team were able to help us out.”

And when tornadoes struck western Kentucky in December of 2021, Trentham says,Alcoa was fortunate enough to not have significant damage, so we were in a position to respond to mutual aid requests from partners. We sent a couple crews to support Mayfield Electric and Water Systems’ power restoration efforts.”

“In both cases, Alcoa’s partnership with TVA has allowed us to build stronger relationships with neighboring utilities. Our TVA customer service manager Robbie Ansary in particular is always quick to see what we need in terms of extra supplies and crews. The way we support each other and serve our communities is a true showcase of the public power model,” Trentham says.

Alcoa Electric has also been able to bring relief to those in their own service area facing financial strain caused by the pandemic thanks to TVA COVID-19 Community Care Fund grants. In 2020, the LPC matched TVA’s contributions, which totaled $10,000, and chose the United Way of Blount County as administrator, to distribute the money to help those in need pay utility bills.

Even better, when the United Way of Blount County reported an additional $30,000 in contributions to their COVID-19 response fund thanks to the Maryville City Government Electric Department and TVA’s matching funds. Alcoa Electric has been able to donate to all three rounds of funding, giving a total of $30,000. “We are fortunate to have such caring and generous electric companies in our community, both of which are strong advocates for our friends and neighbors,” Jennifer Wackerhagen, president & CEO, United Way of Blount County Maryville, Tennessee says.

Our energy has fueled progress in our region since 1933. See the ways it's helping shape our future.

Resources for Your Home, Business and Life

Our partnership makes helpful programs like these possible.

Economic Development

Alcoa Electric works with TVA Economic Development to attract companies that will bring jobs to the area and help existing businesses and industries grow in a sustainable way. Since 2021, they have seen tremendous growth with Amazon, Smith and Wesson and Company Distilling establishing facilities in their service territory. “Our community economic development folks have worked closely with TVA’s ED team to successfully land those staple companies. Their presence will in turn bring significant economic growth to our community,” Trentham says.

Amazon’s 634,812-square-foot fulfillment center is slated to launch in 2023, and will create 800 full-time jobs with benefits.

Company Distilling will invest $20.2 million and create 60 new jobs in Blount County over the next five years with two multi-use facilities in Townsend and Alcoa. The Townsend location opened in early 2022 and includes a 4,000-square-foot tasting room and outdoor space for activities with access to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They will open a second location in 2023 in Springbrook Farm a planned city center in Alcoa, in a 20,000 square foot refurbished building. It will serve as the primary distillery and will include a tasting room and retail store along with family-friendly outdoor activities and entertainment on the property’s 31 acres.

Economic development partners TVA, Alcoa Electric Department, the City of Alcoa, the Blount Partnership and Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development were all instrumental in bringing Company Distilling to the area.

Smith and Wesson will invest more than $125 million to relocate their headquarters and firearms distribution, assembly, and plastic injection molding to Blount County. Set to open in late 2023, the facility will be located in Partnership Park North in Maryville, TN and create 750 jobs.

This move was made possible with economic development support from TVA, City of Alcoa Utilities, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, Tennessee Department of Transportation, Blount Partnership, East Tennessee Economic Development Agency and the City of Alcoa.

Partnerships, including those with other economic development organizations and regional, state and community organizations help to foster capital investment and increase employment opportunities in the region. TVA Economic Development serves the seven states that make up the TVA service area—almost all of Tennessee and parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky.

Economic Development

Alcoa Electric and TVA work together to support community-wide learning about energy efficiency, meet STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) objectives and provide opportunities to develop skills that can prepare students for careers in technical fields.


Teachers in public schools that receive power from a TVA distributor can win TVA STEM grants up to $5,000. In 2022 alone, TVA distributed $1 million, in partnership with Bicentennial Volunteers Incorporated, a TVA retiree organization, and the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network. TVA gives preference to applications covering its primary areas of focus–environment, energy, economic development, and community problem solving.

Alcoa High School’s Career & Technical Education (CTE) class earned TVA STEM grants in 2022, 2021 and 2020 totaling $15,000. The funds paid for electrical test benches to increase the number of students who can learn how to program relays and use programmable logic controllers (PLCs), applicable to local technical and industrial jobs.

“Teacher Jerry Allison does a really good job preparing his class for work right here in the community. The test boards show students how to operate some of the work stations used in aluminum manufacturing as well as at Denso, which produces automotive products including inverters for hybrid vehicles,” Trentham says.

“These students also get an introduction to computer programming. Those who learn to run the PLCs will have a leg up if they choose to go on to electrical engineering school, and can take it far and beyond. Alcoa Electric is proud to partner with TVA to invest in future leaders through STEM education,” he says.

Allison’s proposal was inclusive in nature. He wrote, “STEM programs typically attract a larger number of male students. One of the goals of our CTE department is to encourage ‘non-traditional’ students to enroll in our classes. Our school counselors do a great job of introducing more female students into our STEM Technology program of study. We also have a significant number of students (26%) who are economically disadvantaged. It is a sad reality that so many students from poverty lack the parental involvement needed to have the greatest opportunity for academic success. This program offers students an opportunity to explore alternatives to a traditional four-year college that can put students on a path to many successful and rewarding careers.

“Twelve percent of our student body has been identified as having learning disabilities. The hands-on nature of the STEM Technology program provided through trainers such as those proposed in this grant application provides a great opportunity for these students to grow and succeed.”

Montvale Elementary School won a $5,000 TVA STEM grant in 2022. Teacher Joel Jackson’s proposal addressed making gardening accessible to all students, using methods that can accommodate the smaller spaces in which many of the families reside. “From window herb boxes to raised beds to aquaponic systems, the variety of methods is aimed at presenting gardening as an accessible and interesting endeavor that can be done almost anywhere, regardless of income level or living conditions.”

Trentham says, “They grew vegetables and fruit which they fed to students at the cafeteria. I think this is fascinating. It’s really great.”

TVA EnergyRight® School Uplift

Schools enrolled in TVA EnergyRight’s School Uplift program receive behavior-based strategic energy management (SEM) training that helps them integrate energy efficiency practices into their daily operations to save energy and money. Schools compete to win grants for infrastructure upgrades to reduce energy costs and improve the quality of the learning environment.

TVA EnergyRight Educational Workshops

Eye Spy Energy Kids’ Workshop

TVA EnergyRight and Alcoa Electric partner to bring Spark, Bolt, Zap and their other EnergyRight Monster friends to elementary schools across the community, teaching students where energy comes from, how we use it and ways to save at home. Students can continue the energy-saving fun with their families using Eye Spy Energy Kits.

Energy Evolution High School Workshop

TVA EnergyRight and Alcoa Electric are working together to offer engaging, interactive workshops that empower high school students to reduce their environmental impact and lead the next wave of our planet’s energy evolution.

Working Together


Alcoa Electric partners with TVA to provide safe, reliable, clean power to service area customers. TVA supplies community energy to 153 local power companies and about 60 large industrial customers and federal facilities at the lowest feasible cost. For 20 plus years, TVA’s transmission system has achieved a reliability rate of 99.999 percent.

More than half of the electricity generated by TVA is derived from carbon-free resources. TVA’s diverse energy portfolio includes coal, gas, nuclear and hydroelectric plants as well as renewables.

Alcoa Electric further ensures reliability of the 1,000 miles of power lines that they maintain by clearing trees from the right-of-way. Read more trimming and planting efforts.

Transmission lines


Alcoa Electric partners with TVA to help customers make smart energy decisions and save money through TVA EnergyRight®.

Together, they provide resources that help customers make smart home energy decisions. From DIY energy-saving advice to reputable local contractor recommendations, TVA EnergyRight® offers ways to help improve home energy efficiency and save money on the power bill.

Four homes in Alcoa Electric’s service area have benefited from TVA’s EnergyRight® Home Uplift program. Income-eligible customers chosen to participate receive home energy upgrades such as repair or replacement of HVAC units, electric water heaters and other appliances, in addition to insulation and sealing of cracks and gaps. As a result, they save on their energy bills and report a more comfortable home temperature and reduction in illnesses.

Community Energy - Residential