At the end of January, I, along with Assistant General Manager Chris Davis and eight board members from Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation, traveled to Nashville to meet with state legislators who represent our area of Tennessee. We had great discussions about energy, our co-op and other issues that are important to rural and suburban Tennessee. You can read more about our visits on page 22.
CEMC provides safe and reliable power to more than 95,000 homes, farms and businesses in northern Middle Tennessee. That is a big part of what we do, but it’s not all we do. We are on a mission to make our service area stronger — to build up the communities we serve. That means that our efforts reach far beyond energy. We are engaged in economic development efforts to bring new jobs and investment to our service area. Our youth programs are designed to educate and inspire the next generation of community leaders. Even the taxes we pay and the jobs we provide have an impact.
Advocacy is another way we build up our communities.
Our elected officials are called to make decisions that can have a significant impact on our co-op and the communities we serve. It is important that these lawmakers completely understand how their decisions will affect our members’ pocketbooks and their way of life.
We have a great story to tell, and I am honored to speak up for our communities and our co-op.
Co-ops tell story of rural Tennessee during 2018 Day on the Hill
Directors and staff from Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation were among more than 200 electric co-op leaders in Nashville on Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 29 and 30, for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association’s 2018 Legislative Conference. CEMC directors Tommy Whittaker, Wes Aymett, Shela Williams, Jeannie Beauchamp, Steve Douglass, Charlie Hancock, Andy Mason and Ed Oliver joined General Manager Jim Coode and Assistant General Manager Chris Davis in meetings with legislators on Capitol Hill to help them better understand electric cooperatives and the issues that impact rural and suburban Tennessee.
Lt. Gov. Randy McNally opened the meeting on Tuesday morning. “I’d like to welcome you here to Nashville,” he said. “I appreciate the job you do.”Tennessee’s electric cooperatives maintain a visible presence in Nashville and Washington, D.C., to protect the interests of co-op and their consumer owners. “We are here to give a voice to rural Tennesseans,” said David Callis, CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “We must tell the electric cooperative story and educate lawmakers about the impact of proposed legislation.”
“Advocating for our members doesn’t stop at the edge of our service territory.
It is critically important that our elected leaders keep cooperatives in mind when crafting laws and regulations that impact us,” says Coode. “We have a responsibility to our communities to tell their story.” Attendees reminded legislators that co-ops are not-for-profit, consumer-owned private businesses that impact rural and suburban Tennessee in many ways.
Co-ops addressed three specific issues during their visits this year:
• Co-ops asked lawmakers to support Senate Bill 1646 and House Bill 1591 that will speed the deployment of broadband by allowing co-ops to utilize existing easements for nonelectric purposes such as telecommunication services.
• Co-ops expressed support for Senate Bill 1752 and House Bill 1773 that will elevate the charges of assaulting a utility worker and make them consistent with penalties already in place to protect other first responders.
• While legislation has not yet been filed, a final issue discussed was an effort by the Department of Revenue to apply sales tax to fees paid by utility consumers. Co-ops asked the General Assembly to enact legislation to protect utility consumers from these additional taxes.
“Educated and informed legislators are necessary for us to provide low-cost, reliable power, and our legislators listen when we come to visit,” says Callis. More than 100 legislative visits were made during the conference, and dozens of legislators from across the state attended a reception honoring members of the Tennessee General Assembly.
Why we plan outages
Have you ever received a notification from Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation informing you of a “planned outage?” You may have wondered, “What is a planned outage?” and, “Why does my electric utility need to perform one?” Occasionally, the equipment we use to bring power to your home needs to be replaced, repaired or updated. When this happens, we plan an interruption to electric service as a way to keep our crews and our members safe.
We do our best to plan these outages during times when you will be least inconvenienced, so we often perform planned outages during school and business hours. We also try to avoid planning these outages during winter or summer months. We understand these are peak times of the year when you depend on running your heating and cooling units the most.
While they may sound slightly inconvenient, planned outages are actually beneficial. Regular system upgrades are necessary for optimal performance, and they increase reliability. Repairing and upgrading our equipment are also critical to maintaining public safety. If older lines need to be replaced, we plan for the project and then repair or replace the line; that keeps everyone safe.
Planned outages also allow us to keep you informed of when and how long you will be without power. We will notify you at least two days prior to a planned outage so you can be prepared.
We want to make sure we are doing everything we can to keep you safe and to keep our system running smoothly. So, the next time you hear about a planned outage, know that it is one of the best ways we can provide you with quality electric service.
Is your information up-to-date?
In the utility business, we know rough weather will occur. And sometimes power outages simply can’t be avoided. But did you know there are steps you can take to ensure your electricity is restored as quickly and safely as possible? By keeping your contact information up-to-date, you can take full advantage of the services Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation offers.
Not having the correct phone number linked to your home address makes it more difficult for you to report an outage. CEMC uses the phone number you provide to link your service address to our outage management system. For example, if you call us to report an outage, our automated system instantly recognizes your phone number and can determine the particular service address from which you are reporting an outage. Once you give our system a response, your outage is reported. It’s that simple! But remember — this only works if your current phone number is linked to your service address.
Updating your contact information is helpful because it also speeds up the power restoration process. With correct information, our outage management system can predict the location and the possible cause of an outage, making it easier for our crews to correct the problem.
Having your correct contact information also allows us to notify you in the event of planned outages. If we have your correct contact information, we can notify you ahead of time so you can make arrangements, if needed, to prepare for the outage.
To check your contact information and update it if needed, visit our website, www.cemc.org, and click on “My Account.” Or call us at 1-800-987-2362.
At Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation, we understand that convenience is a must when it comes to managing your electric account. That’s why we are making it easier than ever to do just that by offering a number of convenient ways to pay your electric bill, including:
Bank Draft Payment: Payments are automatically drafted from your checking/savings account each month on your due date.
Auto Pay: Payments are automatically drafted from credit or debit card each month on your due date.
Credit/Debit Card by Phone: Pay your bill by phone using your credit card or debit card. There is no fee for this service.
Mail: Mail your payment in the return envelope included with your monthly statement.
SmartHub: Pay your bill through the app or online with a credit/debit card for no additional fee.
District offices: You can make payments at our district offices. Our district offices are open 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For your convenience, each district office is equipped with a payment kiosk station that is available 24/7. Kiosks accept cash and credit/debit cards.
Please make room for roadside crews
When the power goes out, so do Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation’s line crews. Lineworkers are the first to respond after an outage occurs, and they work tirelessly, often in dangerous conditions, to restore power to the communities we serve.
If you are traveling and see one of our crews on the side of the road, we kindly ask that you move over if possible and give them a little extra space to work. We care deeply about the safety of all, and this extra precaution ensures just that.
If you approach a crew while traveling on a two-lane road, moving over to the next lane might not be an option. In this case, we simply ask that you slow down when approaching roadside crews. If you approach a crew while traveling on a four-lane road, and safety and traffic conditions allow, we ask that you move over into the far lane.
In 2011, following efforts by Tennessee’s electric cooperatives and municipal utilities, the state’s Move Over law was revised to include utility workers as well as the already covered police, firefighters and other first responders.
The requirements of the Move Over law are simple. On a four-lane road, if safety and traffic conditions allow, a driver approaching a utility vehicle with flashing lights must move into the far lane. On a two-lane road or when changing lanes is not possible, a driver must reduce speed.
Utility crews are not the only ones who could use the extra space. Emergency responders, such as police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians, often find themselves responding to emergency situations near busy roadways. We ask that you follow the same procedures mentioned above to help keep these crews safe.
There is plenty of room for all. Let us work together to keep everyone safe on our local roadways.
CEMC Member Falls Victim to Scam
CEMC has been made aware that there is a phone scam in our service area, whereby a request is made for immediate payment by credit card in order to avoid being disconnected.
CEMC does not call members demanding payment over the phone. Members who have doubts about the legitimacy of a call should contact CEMC directly at 1-800-987-2362, even if the number displayed on their phone is CEMC’s phone number.
Introducing Outage Alert!
That vibration or ring tone from your mobile phone could be a text message from CEMC indicating that your power is out and crews are on the way!
Unfortunately power outages are a part of life and occur for various reasons such as weather conditions, vehicle accidents, downed tree limbs and more. While CEMC makes every effort to restore your power safely and efficiently we also want to keep our members informed during outages. Get notified by CEMC when the power is out at your home by signing up for Outage Alert!
After you signup for Outage Alert you will receive a text message to your mobile phone when an outage is predicted in your area either by our Outage Management System, by another customer in your area, or by you.There are no charges for this service, although messaging and data rates apply based on your mobile carrier plan.