Neighbors Powering What Matters

Community Energy: the benefit of Winchester Utility Service and TVA working together
Community Energy

Community Energy—In Winchester, Tenn., Our 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 Winchester Utility System supports 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

Winchester Utility 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

Interconnectedness of the Region Lifts Up Youth, Natural Resources and Economic Development

Winchester Utility System and TVA were founded on a mission to serve — through reliable and affordable energy, a safe and protected environment and thriving economic development.

Winchester Utility System provides electric services to more than 5,700 residential and business customers within the city of Winchester as well as a rural area to the northwest, all in Franklin County, located in Middle Tennessee.

High Schoolers Find Possibilities in Franklin County

Youth Leadership Franklin County program, sponsored by the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, gives high school juniors a closer look at local life. Participants discover the many ways they can increase engagement with the community—and learn about opportunities that help them envision a future right where they live today.

“As a program partner, our hope is to compel and inspire young folks to stay home, stay local and invest in the community,” said George Powell, general manager of Winchester Utility System.

The program objective is “to recruit and prepare existing and emerging high school leaders for responsible public decision-making and volunteer service.” The strategy includes pairing up each student with a mentor who demonstrates and inspires leadership skills as well as a community service project.

Powell said, “A lot of folks don’t realize that there are jobs for them right here in Franklin County. We show them how a utility operates. When they visit power superintendent Chris Zimmerman, he teaches them how his department works and the science behind it all. We’re really proud to show kids what’s behind all these fences and wires, and let them know about the potential positions they could hold at Winchester Utility System.”

The Utility-Community Connection: Giving Customers a Chance to Help Each Other

One way that the utility supports the community is through Project Help, which allows customers to contribute monthly to a fund that is distributed to those who need utility bill payment assistance. “This is an opt-in program that allows customers to donate money to those on our system who are having a difficult time paying their bill,” Powell said.

“From an impact point of view, our customers are important but Winchester Utility System is proud to be a part of the community as a whole. No doubt it’s true that you don’t have a choice of provider, but we hope customers see the other benefits of community energy and the programs we participate in. We hope customers find value in our relationship,” Powell said.

Taking Care of Natural Resources

“We couldn’t have the quality of water at the intake without TVA’s protection of the watershed, and making sure the streams, rivers, and lakes are clean. Their work is really important,” Powell said.

“This gets lost on a lot of people who think this value is only held by tree hugging environmental enthusiasts, but really it’s all of us at Winchester Utility System. We drink the water. We use the lights. We take care of our own natural resources.

Operators at our water and wastewater treatment plants, for example, show their commitment through continual training and education,” Powell said, adding, “I’m extremely proud of all of our employees. We all live here. We all are customers.”

Economic Development Beneficiary

Although their customer base only covers a small portion of the region, Winchester Utility System recognizes that all the power companies are interconnected and benefit from TVA Economic Development. Powell said, “Nissan came here through TVA Economic Development. That has been a landmark and genesis moment for our community. Their presence has grown other manufacturing industries that support the automaker, which grows jobs for residents. We even have a new Tennessee Center of Applied Technology that supports those industries.

Sharing the TVA Mission

“TVA embodies the servant leadership ideal that they espouse. It means doing things for people and not to people. This philosophy is valuable for us at the utility company. As an example, TVA sent their president and CEO to come have lunch with us. It made me realize that we, too, can be flexible and take the time to reach out to those we serve. We are part of the TVA mission. We do believe in the three columns of the mission–environment, economic development, and energy. And we’re really proud of that story,” Powell said.

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.

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

Tims Ford State Park on the Tims Ford Lake Reservoir is a playground for biking, camping, hiking, horseback riding and swimming. Paddlers can plan a route with this map and guidelines provided by TVA. It’s also the home of Bear Trace Golf Course, designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus.

Powell said, “Our customers and visitors enjoy skiing, leisure boating, world class fishing, hunting, and outdoor recreation areas. Outdoor spaces bring a lot of people into our area.”

“Customers as a whole are interested in the environmental component of energy. They are concerned if our streams, lakes and rivers are clean, and what are we doing about that. We have a beautiful resource. We’d hate to do anything to jeopardize that,” power superintendent Chris Zimmerman said.

Reliability

Winchester Utility System 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.

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.

Reliability

Renewables

Investing in renewable energy sources — like solar and wind — helps keep our power clean and affordable. Winchester Utility System partners with TVA to offer green power through Green Power Switch among other ways neighbors and businesses to join us in supporting renewable resource energy projects in the Tennessee Valley and promote a greener energy future.

Powell said, “For us, it’s about giving our customers informed choices. I don’t know that our customers are prepared to put solar on their houses but they are interested in renewable energy. If a business owner in our service area wants to be carbon free, they can work with the power department to purchase Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) through Green Power Switch and move toward this goal.

Explore available resources from information that helps residents learn about solar options to programs that allow businesses to support renewable energy and operate more sustainably.

Solar panels in a field

Residential

Winchester Utility System 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 - Residential