Nashville Electric Service and TVA were founded on a mission to serve — through reliable and affordable energy, a safe and protected environment and thriving economic development.
As part of its commitment to environmental sustainability and carbon reduction, Nashville Electric Service (NES) recently joined TVA’s Green Invest program. Through this program NES will help Vanderbilt University reach carbon neutrality by powering the campus solely with renewable energy. The University’s greenhouse emissions will be reduced by solar power generated from two farms in Bedford and Moore counties. Nashville-based Silicon Ranch Corporation, one of the largest independent solar power producers in the U.S., will construct, own and operate the solar facilities. The partnership between NES and TVA’s Green Invest program aims to encourage further economic development in the area by attracting and retaining jobs and investment in the community.
Resiliency, innovation and a commitment to community powers NES. As so many in the NES service area know, Nashville has been through some tough times over the past 10 years. Natural disasters and weather events have devastated the area, including the 2010 flood and the 2020 tornado. Many in the area struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic. Then the region was shocked by the Christmas Day bombing of downtown Nashville in 2020. But these difficult events haven’t stopped the city of Nashville or NES from staying “Nashville Strong,” as Paula Geruntino, NES Customer Relations Manager, says.
NES has been there to get the power back on and customers back on their feet as quickly as possible during these unprecedented times. Geruntino says that the partnership between NES and TVA has been an important part of these efforts, from restoring power outages to volunteer cleanup after the tornado, to utility bill assistance to help residents, business owners and employees affected by the Christmas Day bombing. “Our working together [with TVA] means a partnership of service that touches every single customer,” Geruntino says.
Assisting customers in crisis is a top priority at NES. To provide customers with easy access to resources, NES created NEShelps.com. The website provides a list of economic resources to customers, including $17 million in relief funds made possible by a partnership between NES and TVA. Part of the funding was used as a COVID-19 credit on customer bills during the pandemic and the remaining $7 million is managed by NeedLink Nashville to help those in need pay down past-due balances. Resources on the site also include links to the United Way of Greater Nashville’s Nashville Response Fund page and other social service agencies.
In addition to online resources to assist customers in need, NES participates in TVA EnergyRight’s Home Uplift Program to help income-qualified homeowners in the service area weatherize their homes. Geruntino says she is a “big advocate” for weatherization programs, and she’s proud that NES will soon have assisted 400 homes in the community through the program, which is supported by grants from TVA and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC).
Not only does Home Uplift help ensure that customers’ homes are more energy-efficient and their power bills are lower, but it also has many other “non-energy benefits,” as Geruntino notes. Making these energy upgrades ensures better health and safety for customers, which means they can stay in their homes and in their neighborhoods. From cleaner air that can help to improve respiratory conditions, to joint pain relief and fewer doctor’s visits, weatherizing a home can improve quality of life in many ways.
Geruntino says the core mission of NES, “To provide safe, reliable, and cost-efficient power to all customers,” is more important than ever.
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