Neighbors Powering What Matters

Community Energy: the benefit of Dickson Electric System and TVA working together
Community Energy

In Our Region, Power Means More

Dickson Electric System 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 as a result of thriving and growing communities, outdoor recreation thanks to our protected lands, cleaner energy sources, and much more.

A Partnership of Service

Dickson Electric System 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

Industry Growth and Disaster Recovery Made Stronger by Partnerships

Dickson Electric System (DES) provides power to 30,000 residential and business customers in Dickson, Hickman, Cheatham, Houston, and Montgomery counties in Middle Tennessee.

Teaming Up Boosts Economic Development
The region’s industrial growth has been fueled by partnerships such as those DES and TVA have forged with Middle Tennessee Industrial Development Association, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and local organizations. Together, they are able to strategize and coordinate resources to connect companies with viable locations in the area where they can expand or move operations. DES general manager Darrell Gillespie is especially invested in this process as he also represents electricity distributors on the Middle Tennessee Industrial Development Association board.

Back in 2018, these collaborative efforts brought Canadian boat manufacturer Ebbtide Holdings, Inc. to White Bluff, Tennessee, which created 100 jobs. Two years later, during the early months of the pandemic, the company experienced a surge in sales. Gillespie said, “Since boating doesn’t require mixing in with people in close proximity or taking an airplane, it became an even more popular form of recreation. They couldn’t make boats fast enough.”

As COVID-19’s persistence continued to influence lifestyle, boat purchases skyrocketed. To meet the unexpected production demands, in the spring of 2021, Ebbtide accepted acquisition by Limestone Boat Company Limited. Their output’s capacity was greater than what Ebbtide was able to do as its own entity, so they now manufacture Ebbtide’s Aquasport and Boca Bay marine product brands. This move has kept workers employed, and the water recreation economy buoyant.

Food Manufacturer Adds Facility in Dickson

Memphis-based Monogram Assembled Foods, LLC has acquired a manufacturing facility in the Dickson County Industrial Park, and will invest $53.5 million in improvements. Monogram will also retain current employees and create 400 additional jobs. Economic development partners DES, TVA, Dickson County Economic Development Alliance and Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development helped the company establish its first plant in Tennessee.

Monogram’s Chief Executive Officer Karl Schledwitz said, “Our new Dickson facility will allow us to expand production and bring more in-demand food products to our store and retail partners across the country. Dickson is a thriving community with a dynamic workforce, and we are proud to call it home for our newest location. We look forward to bringing more jobs to the community and serving the Dickson area.”

When Disaster Strikes, Helping is in DES’s Nature

The DES community has faced challenging times since the pandemic began. In August 2021, floods tragically took lives and homes in Dickson and neighboring counties, with communities served by another utility getting hit harder than DES. Dickson County stepped up and provided many residents of surrounding areas temporary shelter, supplies, and short-term housing options as they began to recover and rebuild.

“The flooding was very close to us, so we pitched in where possible. DES was able to help the Dickson County YMCA, which opened up its doors to local families as a place for safe refuge. We also served homes nearby with materials for repairs. And others showed up with truckloads of water,” Darrell Gillespie, general manager of DES said. TVA provided financial support as well through a donation to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee’s Emergency Response Fund.

Turns out, there was no time for calm before the next storm. In December 2021, tornadoes ripped through the Tennessee Valley, directly impacting the DES service area as winds demolished homes and businesses and damaged many others. Power was out for many days and DES line crews worked around the clock to restore electricity and repair and replace downed lines.

Elizabeth Kuhns, assistant to the general manager of DES said, “We are community powered, which means we are members of the communities we so proudly serve. When we were knee-deep in storm work, small businesses, hotels, restaurants, friends, neighbors and customers went above and beyond to help us. Individual members of the community checked in to find out what we needed and quickly filled the request for snacks and water.”

Kuhns added that DES customers fed line crews to show gratitude for the work they were doing to bring power back. And others accommodated urgent housing or laundering needs for contractors and out-of-town crews. Determined to help one another, it seemed anyone not severely affected found a way pitch in. Rebuilding will certainly be an ongoing battle, but the spirit of caring proves to be stronger than any storm.

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

Dickson Electric System works with TVA Economic Development to attract new companies and bring more jobs to the area and to help existing businesses and industries grow in a sustainable way.

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. TVA partnerships with other economic development organizations help to foster capital investment and job growth in the region.

“We work hand-in-hand with TVA on economic development, and their work is outstanding. Every year seems to be a better year. And the bar is so high. For 16 years in a row, TVA Economic Development was recognized nationally with a Top Utility of the Year award by Site Selection magazine for helping existing industry grow,” Gillespie said.

Discover all the resources designed to help you manage your energy use and boost your bottom line.


Dickson Electric System (DES) 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 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. 

Darrell Gillespie, general manager, DES, says, “A few of the schools we serve have been fortunate to get TVA STEM grants. This offers a great opportunity to introduce kids to community energy at an early age.”

Stuart-Burns Elementary School in Burns, Tennessee received TVA STEM grants in 2022 and 2020. And New Directions Academy in Dickson, Tennessee was awarded a TVA STEM grant in 2021.

TVA EnergyRight® School Uplift 

Schools enrolled in TVA EnergyRight® School Uplift receive infrastructure upgrades to reduce energy costs and improve the quality of the learning environment. Heating, cooling and lighting improvements are the tip of the iceberg, however as the program’s focus is long-term learning for communities. Students and faculty at chosen schools receive behavior-based strategic energy management (SEM) training and learn easy, actionable energy saving tips and energy efficiency practices.  

TVA EnergyRight Educational Workshops

Eye Spy Energy Kids’ Workshop

TVA EnergyRight and DES 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.

EnergyRight® Energy Monsters

TVA and local power companies partner up to bring EnergyRight® Energy Monsters workshops to schools to teach where energy comes from, how we use it and ways to save at home. Students can take home Eye Spy Energy Kits to continue the energy savings fun with their families.

Working Together

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. DES partners with TVA EnergyRight to make it easier for drivers to decide if making the switch to an EV makes sense for them.

The DES office hosts a Tesla superstation to charge EVs. DES is also a recent TVA FastCharge grant recipient and plans to install another charger near the highway at the halfway point between Nashville and Memphis.

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 is here.

Plugging in an electric vehicle


Investing in renewable energy sources — like solar and wind — helps keep our power clean and affordable. DES partners with TVA to offer various ways for neighbors and businesses to join in supporting renewable resource energy projects in the Tennessee Valley and promote a greener energy future.

Explore resources for information about residential solar options, programs that allow businesses to support renewable energy and operate more sustainably and more.

As a public power utility, DES supports the best energy generation options for customers. TVA continues to increase its renewable and clean offerings, enabling DES customers to offset their carbon footprint with renewable energy credits (DES). They are also dedicated to helping ensure any alternative energy generation is set up safely.