Appalachian Electric Cooperative (AEC) and TVA were founded on a mission to serve — through reliable and affordable energy, a safe and protected environment and thriving economic development.
Located in New Market, Tennessee, and nestled between Douglas and Cherokee lakes, Appalachian Electric Cooperative serves portions of Grainger, Hamblen, Jefferson and Sevier Counties. The region is home to Bassmaster tournaments and famous for its local fishing teams, including the nationally-ranked team at Carson-Newman University.
Mitch Cain, Director of Member Services for AEC, says recreation at the lake—especially fishing—is a vital part of the community. Cain points out that the partnership with TVA helps to make the fishing competitions possible, with TVA providing public access and parking. “We couldn’t park those cars unless TVA gave us the space and worked with us to get people in and out,” says Cain.
Supporting community events doesn’t end at the lake for AEC. This past April, AEC joined forces with neighboring local power company, Morristown Utility Systems (MUS), along with TVA, to host a local Earth Day event. Several electric vehicles were showcased and a new charging station was installed. Cain says this is just one of many community events that rely on collaboration between AEC and TVA.
While the team at AEC is proud to sponsor community events, ultimately, they value investing in their communities. This includes economic development efforts and helping those in need. Keeping rates stable and providing reliable service are two primary ways AEC strives to be the community’s “trusted energy partner,” as Cain says. But sometimes more help is needed.
Cain says that the partnership between AEC and TVA helped many members in the AEC service area who were struggling financially during the COVID-19 pandemic. TVA matched AEC’s $30,000 contribution to the Douglas-Cherokee Low income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) through the TVA Community Cares Fund for a combined total donation of $60,000. These funds were then used to help those in need pay their utility bill during the pandemic.
Continuing to collaborate with TVA and other Community Energy partners on initiatives that support their members is a top priority for AEC. “As we continue to move forward, we value TVA and having those partnership resources available,” Cain says.
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