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Neighbors Powering What Matters

Community Energy: the benefit of Columbus Light & Water and TVA working together
Community Energy

Community Energy—In Columbus, Miss., Power Means More.

Our region 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

Columbus Light & Water 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

People are everything to Columbus Light and Water.

Columbus Light and Water (CLW) and TVA were founded on a mission to serve — through reliable and affordable energy, a safe and protected environment and thriving economic development.

CLW provides electricity to 12,000 residential and commercial customers in Lowdes County, Mississippi.

“Our tagline is ‘the power of people.’ This is because our energy is owned by the people who live here, and powered by our internal team that works really, really hard to serve the people in our community,” Dr. Verdell says, adding, “When you can make an impact on the most basic level and provide people with their most basic needs, they’ll follow you. Our little town is on the upward trend in terms of using technology and innovation. Looking forward, we want more people driving EVs and more businesses partnering with us and TVA, using EnergyRight.”

CLW is one of the first local power companies (LPCs) to participate in the TVA program Connected Communities, which brings information and technology solutions to citizens in the Tennessee Valley. In August of 2022, CLW launched a two-year pilot called ACTNow (Access, Connectivity, Tools), thanks to a $262,000 grant from TVA under the program’s equitable access to services initiative.

They are now able to provide Columbus Housing Authority (CHA) residents with internet connection via hot spots and in-unit connections. They also offer digital literacy education and those who complete the classes are eligible to receive a device.

“Anyone who does not have internet access is at a deficit,” Dr. Angela Verdell, general manager, Columbus Light and Water says. “We want to improve the quality of life for CHA residents and believe this is possible through the use of technology and the education that goes along with it.”

“We are here to help people understand the power of having internet access, and what that can do for their lives. A lot of us take for granted that everyone knows how to use a laptop, or what it means to be connected,” Dr. Verdell says, “but everybody doesn’t know and everybody doesn’t have the ability to use (those resources).”

ACTNow educators will teach elderly residents how to use technology for telehealth and video calls, introduce job seekers to certification projects to improve skills, and engage students in STEM learning. Dr. Verdell says, “We also recognize that a significant percentage of this population either has never banked or is under banked, and plan to show them how to use technology to (have more agency over their money).”

HUD ConnectHome USA celebrated the program’s impact by awarding CHA with badges of honor for connecting 250 residents and distributing 200 devices. Additional partners responsible for making this program possible include Resident Council of Friendly City, Mississippi State University Chapter of National Society of Black Engineers and Residency Office of Self-Sufficiency (ROSS) of Friendly City.

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.


Columbus Light and Water (CLW) 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.

TVA EnergyRight® School Uplift

Franklin Academy in the Columbus Municipal School District was chosen as a 2022 participant in TVA EnergyRightTVA EnergyRight’s School Uplift. Schools enrolled in the 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. They compete to win grants for infrastructure upgrades to reduce energy costs and improve the quality of the learning environment.

Franklin Elementary School, which serves K-5 was the first public school in the state. Dr. Verdell says, “I am super excited that Franklin is benefiting from School Uplift because when I served on the school board that was one of the schools we wanted to bring up to speed in terms of modernization of HVAC and accessibility–specifically in the auditorium.”

Columbus High School and Stokes Beard Elementary School are lined up to participate in the next School Uplift cohort.

Teachers in public schools that receive power from a TVA distributor can win STEM grants up to $5,000. In 2022 alone, TVA distributed $1 million, in partnership with TVA retiree organization Bicentennial Volunteers Incorporated 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.

TVA EnergyRight Educational Workshops

Eye Spy Energy Kids’ Workshop

TVA EnergyRight and CLW 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 CLW 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.


Electric Vehicles (EVs)

In comparison to gas-fueled vehicles, EVs make for a smoother and more efficient ride, are easier to maintain, and are better for the environment. Columbus Light & Water partners with TVA EnergyRight to make it easier for drivers to decide if making the switch to an EV makes sense for them. From a comparison tool to help select an EV that fits your needs, to a digital map that helps easily locate charging stations along your route, all the information you need is here.

Plugging in an electric vehicle


Columbus Light & Water 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 more than 20 years, TVA’s transmission system has achieved a reliability rate of 99.999 percent.

Columbus Light & Water earned a diamond level Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3)® designation in 2019 from the American Public Power Association for providing reliable and safe electric service. The RP3 designation recognizes public power utilities that demonstrate proficiency, reliability, safety, workforce development and system improvement.

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.



Fourteen homes in CLW’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.

Columbus Light and Water 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.

Community Energy