Cleveland Utilities and TVA were founded on a mission to serve — through reliable and affordable energy, a safe and protected environment and thriving economic development.
As John Corum, VP of Administrative Services for Cleveland Utilities, and Amy Ensley, Utility Board Secretary, recently shared, Community Energy is about more than just providing reliable and affordable electricity to customers. Whether it’s through community assistance programs, finding new economic development opportunities, or supporting local schools, the team at Cleveland Utilities puts their community focus into practice. And to help further their goals, Cleveland Utilities partners with TVA on a variety of projects and programs.
Helping their most vulnerable customers through innovative programs is just one way that Cleveland Utilities serves their community. In 2015, United Way of Bradley County’s Impact Cleveland Initiative embarked on an ambitious goal to retrofit 300 homes in low-income neighborhoods for better energy efficiency. The program was made possible by a $3.75 million Extreme Energy Makeovers award, presented by TVA as part of the TVA EnergyRight Smart Communities program. Cleveland Utilities joined Impact Cleveland and TVA as part of the makeover team to reduce home energy usage by 25 percent in the participating homes.
Energy audits were conducted to customize upgrades for each home. Upgrades included installing high-efficiency Energy Star windows, heat pumps and air conditioners, repairing and replacing ducts, whole-house ventilation and more, depending on the needs of each home. Corum says Cleveland Utilities was proud to be a part of this incredible opportunity to serve some of their most vulnerable customers, “This was a true partnership that saved [customers] real dollars and made a huge impact on the community.”
Ongoing collaborative economic development efforts that drive energy efficiency and, ultimately, save customers money are a focus for Cleveland Utilities. In a recent project, Cleveland Utilities partnered with TVA to upgrade lighting and reduce energy costs in the county and city schools. Funding for the project was provided by both Cleveland Utilities and TVA EnergyRight. As Corum says, “It seems small, but when you’re talking 10 to 12 schools, those are real dollars that come out of budgets.” TVA provided the lighting evaluation, HVAC assistance, energy efficiency assessment studies, power quality analysis, power factor studies, and other technical assistance to commercial and industrial customers. Customers are not charged for the upgrades. “There’s a lot of benefit to drawing on TVA’s expertise,” says Corum, “It’s a win-win for all involved.”
Over the past year, many of the customers that Cleveland Utilities serves struggled financially during the Covid-19 pandemic. “There was a great need during that time,” says Ensley. Cleveland Utilities and TVA partnered together through the TVA Community Cares Fund to donate a combined total of $60,000 in relief aid to the United Way of the Ocoee Region. Most of these funds were used to assist families with their utility bills.
Ensley sums up the spirit of service that drives the team at Cleveland Utilities, “At the end of the day, we’re just dedicated to serving Cleveland and Bradley County, the community and our customers.”
Our energy has fueled progress in our region since 1933. See the ways it's helping shape our future.