Neighbors Powering What Matters

Community Energy: the benefit of Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative and TVA working together
Community Energy

Community Energy—In Our Region, Power Means More

Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative (MLEC) 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

MLEC 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

Giving Back to the Community

Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative (MLEC) and TVA were founded on a mission to serve — through reliable and affordable energy, a safe and protected environment and thriving economic development.

Serving members in Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Lewis and Perry Counties in rural Middle Tennessee, MLEC provides more than electricity to its members. According to Keith Carnahan, MLEC president and CEO, their partnership with TVA helps to boost the economic development potential for the service area.

“TVA’s Economic Development team has been very active in our area and good about involving us when prospective customers (visit),” Carnahan said, “They have been helpful with site prep and readiness,” as well as listing sites for prospective commercial development in Perry County, Humphreys County and Centerville.

MLEC’s commitment to the community extends beyond affordable, reliable power and economic development. Carnahan said, “One of our co-op principles is giving back to our community in the best way we can.”

One way that MLEC puts this principle into practice is by partnering with TVA and Second Harvest Food Bank to help ensure vulnerable members in the community don’t go hungry. And, during the COVID-19 pandemic, MLEC participated in the TVA Community Cares Fund to make sure qualifying members were able to pay their power bills.

Carnahan said, “The gratitude was overwhelming. You get more from giving than receiving and that’s the truth.”

Meanwhile, MLEC is adapting to population increase in the service area. Carnahan said, “We’re experiencing a lot of growth. A lot of people are moving in from out of state. But even though we have more meters, growth on electric sales is modest; it’s not dramatic. A lot of that goes back to energy conservation. We’re one of the only businesses that helps our customers use less of our product.”

MLEC also partners with TVA EnergyRight to offer participating residential members opportunities to save money on their power bill through energy upgrades. Member engagement with the program has been robust. Carnahan said, “It’s a great program and has really benefited members.”

While economic development and energy efficiency are important, so is taking time to enjoy life. For many MLEC members, that includes spending time fishing or boating along the Tennessee and Duck Rivers, which are both accessible within the MLEC service area. Carnahan says stewardship of these outdoor recreational areas is a priority, “We work hard with TVA to make sure our waterways are accessible and enjoyable.”

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

MLEC 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.

In 2020, Accurate Energetic Systems, LLC, a developer and manufacturer of products for the defense and aerospace industry, announced plans to expand operations in McEwen, Tennessee. The company will create 80 new jobs and invest $9.7 million toward modernizing and expanding operations.

Economic development partners include MLEC, Humphreys County Economic Development Council, Hickman County Economic & Community Development Association and the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

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.

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


Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative (MLEC) 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.

Houston County High School won a TVA STEM grant in 2019.

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 MLEC 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.



MLEC partners with TVA to provide safe, reliable, clean power to service area members.

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.



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

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

As of August 2021, several customers in the MLEC service area had participated that year in the DIY Home Energy Assessment and Home Energy Evaluation programs.

Community Energy - Residential