Neighbors Powering What Matters

Community Energy: the benefit of LaFollette Utilities and TVA working together
Community Energy

Community Energy—In Our Region, Power Means More

LaFollette Utilities 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 thanks to our protected lands, cleaner energy sources, and much more.

A Partnership of Service

LaFollette Utilities 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

Responsible Recreation and Economic Revitalization

LaFollette Utilities (LUB) and TVA were founded on a mission to serve — through reliable and affordable energy, a safe and protected environment and thriving economic development.

LUB provides water, electricity, and wastewater services to communities in East Tennessee. Located in the City of LaFollette, its centerpiece is Norris Lake, which lures both anglers and spectators to bass fishing tournaments. It is also a popular place for both locals and tourists to enjoy boating and jet skiing. And these outdoor enthusiasts have ample lodging options as RV parks, campgrounds, and lakefront rentals continue to spring up.

Shoreline Permits
LUB members and guests are able to use the lake for recreation in harmony with flood control, navigation, power generation and water quality operations thanks to Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) protections established by the TVA Act. One measure is ensuring shoreline alteration project proposals such as building docks or stabilization efforts go through a proper permitting process.

Moving Beyond the Coal Era Toward New Economic Opportunities
LUB and TVA also partner to support economic growth in the area. While retirees and younger folks alike enjoy a relaxed and affordable lifestyle in LaFollette, this charming small town is on the verge of reinvention. It was once a thriving coal mining center before the practice began its descent in favor of more sustainable methods of generating energy. “Now (the) mines are pretty much a thing of the past,” says Kenny Baird, General Manager, LUB.

LUB is working with TVA’s Economic Development team to bring more businesses and jobs back to LaFollette. Together, they scout companies that are an excellent fit for the area and offer incentives to make the move attractive. TVA even has a Site Selector tool where they list lots and buildings available for commercial use to make it easy for organizations to find the perfect place to relocate.

Downtown Revitalization
A buzz of revitalization energy is moving into downtown LaFollette. In fact, LUB is so invested they just completed a revitalization project of their own. Baird says, “We’ve moved part of our operation into a remodeled old bakery and a machine shop that was next door to the Studebaker dealership 70 years ago. We kept the historical look of the buildings.” Baird says he’s excited to see other local businesses investing in similar renovation projects in the heart of LaFollette as the town continues to grow.

Powering the Future
To improve power service for existing members and prepare for expansion, LUB is planning a system update based on an assessment of community power needs for the next 15 years. The project includes a potential new substation that will serve the current lake area residents and additional infrastructure that will welcome growth in population. LUB is also partnering with TVA Land Management to upgrade power lines and replace conductors and poles. They will fund the project with low interest municipal bonds.

COVID-19 Financial Relief
Always committed to support their customers in times of crisis, during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, LUB provided assistance to those in need thanks to TVA Community Care Fund monies. Baird says the East Tennessee Foundation was instrumental in helping to decide to distribute the donations to the Campbell Enhancement Fund along with Caring Neighbors, a program sponsored by LUB that helps customers pay their utility bills when they experience a financial setback.

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.

Recreation

TVA’s management of the Valley’s public lands and waterways provides many opportunities for Tennessee residents and tourists to participate in outdoor activities.

The LUB community enjoys fishing and recreation on Norris Lake, which is managed according to TVA’s environmental stewardship and river management programs.

Recreation

Schools

LUB was proud to award a TVA STEM grant to Campbell County Comprehensive High School during the 2018-2019 school year.

The grants were part of $800,000 in funding TVA awarded to public school educators, in partnership with Bicentennial Volunteers Incorporated, a TVA retiree organization. The funds are used to develop science, technology, engineering and math projects across the Valley. The STEM classroom grant program received more than 600 applications for the competitive awards.

The program provides teachers in the seven-state TVA service area to apply for up to $5,000 in funding to support STEM projects. Schools must receive their power from a TVA distributor to qualify for grant funds.

Residential

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

The partnership with TVA EnergyRight offers resources to help with home energy needs. From DIY energy-saving advice to finding a local contractor you can trust, TVA EnergyRight can help you improve your home’s energy efficiency and save money on your power bill.

As of September 2021, several customers in the LUB service area have participated so far this year in a variety of TVA EnergyRight programs.

This includes assisting 6 qualified customers in the LUB service area with energy efficiency upgrades through TVA EnergyRight’s Home Uplift program.

TVA EnergyRight’s Home Uplift helps families with limited means achieve a better home life by making energy upgrades that not only save money on their monthly bills, but also improve their quality of life.

Limited-income customers often live in residences that are older and less energy efficient, which typically means higher power bills. Comfortable, safe living conditions help reduce colds and sickness and help seniors to age in place in their homes.

Currently, TVA EnergyRight’s Home Uplift program is available in select areas, and there are plans to offer it more broadly across the Valley in the future.

Community Energy - Residential

Reliability

LUB 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. Over half of the electricity generated by TVA comes from carbon-free resources. TVA’s diverse energy portfolio includes coal, gas, nuclear and hydroelectric plants as well as renewable resources. For over 20 years, TVA’s transmission system has achieved a reliability rate of 99.999 percent.

Reliability