Seats on CEMC’s board of directors were filled by incumbents
Three seats on Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation’s board of directors were filled by incumbents during the cooperative’s annual meeting Sept.15th at Portland High School. They were elected by members who voted at the annual meeting or during early voting, which took place Sept.14th at CEMC’s seven district business offices.
Stephen E. Douglass of Dover was elected unopposed for a fourth term as director for South Stewart County.
Tommy G. Whittaker of Portland, who also ran unopposed, will serve a fifth term representing North Sumner County. Mr. Whittaker serves as president of the CEMC board.
Michael A. Mason of Springfield defeated challenger Rodney Swearingen of Cross Plains for the North Robertson County seat. Mason had 554 votes and Swearingen had 393 votes. Mason will serve an eighth term on CEMC’s board.
CEMC helps with Hurricane Florence recovery efforts
Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation sent 12 lineworkers along with three bucket trucks, two digger trucks and two pickup trucks to South River Electric Membership Corporation in Dunn, N.C. to assist with Hurricane Florence recovery efforts. CEMC also released five contract crews and three right-of-way crews to assist in the storm's aftermath.
The massive hurricane is expected to leave widespread damage across much of the Atlantic seaboard, and CEMC crews will be in place to assist as soon as it is safe to work.
“This is a powerful storm, and the people of North Carolina have some tough days ahead,” says Chris A. Davis, general manager of CEMC. “We are proud of our linemen for volunteering to assist. They will be working long days in difficult conditions, but they were quick to respond to the call for help. We ask that the public keep them and their families in your thoughts and prayers while they are away.”
Crews left from Coopertown, TN this morning and are expected to arrive in Dunn, N.C. later tonight. It is unclear how long they will be in North Carolina. Please keep those affected by the hurricane in your thoughts and prayers as well as the emergency and volunteer workers who are responding.
Make your voice heard — vote!
By Chris A. Davis, General Manager
If you pay much attention to the news, it is easy to think that our nation is headed for a crisis. I find the constant bickering and fighting among politicians, political parties and D.C. “experts” terribly frustrating, and I wonder what, if anything, is being accomplished.
In this atmosphere, it should be no surprise that nearly 45 percent of eligible voters chose not to participate in the 2016 presidential election. This means that nearly half of all Americans sat on the sidelines as we elected leaders for our nation. Historically, voter turnout is even lower for midterm, primary and local elections.
American writer Louis L’Amour once said, “To make democracy work, we must be a nation of participants, not simply observers.”
There are several important elections coming up, and I want to encourage you to be a participant, not an observer.
This year, Tennesseans will select a new governor, senator and members of the U.S. House. Locally, you might have a chance to select a new county mayor, sheriff or school board member.
Regardless of how big or small the office, every vote in every race will matter.
In Tennessee, federal and state primaries and county general elections will be held on Thursday, Aug. 2. Federal and state general elections will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Voting is a part of the DNA at Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation because each year we ask our members to vote for our board of directors. Because our co-op is led by members like you, we are responsive to the needs of our community. CEMC members will have an opportunity to vote in director elections Sept. 15 at our annual meeting, which will be held at Portland High School this year. Your input shapes the decisions we make.
America is home to the world’s oldest continuous democracy, and our strength depends on active and engaged citizens. Whether it is at the national, state or local level, the more people who vote, the more accurately leadership reflects the will of the people.
We may not always see eye to eye on the issues. We may have differing opinions about which solutions are best. But, perhaps, we can all agree on this: The strength of our nation lies in our freedom to vote.
Whether you vote in every election or have never cast a ballot, I challenge you to study the issues, learn about the candidates and vote.
I hope to see you at the polls.
Beware of third-party payment processors
Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation cautions its members when using third-party payment processors like Doxo.com. Such companies, which allow consumers to pay a variety of bills online—including CEMC bills—often charge a fee for their service. While third-party bill payment processors are legal, they can be misleading. Doxo.com and similar services may appear to be affiliated with CEMC; however, they are not. Nor are they official payment sites for CEMC.
If using Doxo.com, be aware that member payments may arrive late, resulting in late fees or even disconnection due to nonpayment.
The quickest, most economical way for CEMC members to make a payment is by using one of the convenient payment options offered by CEMC—none of which charge a fee.
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.
Mail: Mail your payment in the return envelope included with your monthly statement. (To avoid late fees, please mail payments several days prior to the due date.)
SmartHub: Pay your bill through the app or online with a credit/debit card.
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.
2018 Annual Meeting
Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation’s 80th annual meeting is set for Saturday, Sept. 15, and we want you to attend! This year’s meeting will be held at Portland High School, located at 600 College St. in Sumner County.
Doors will open at 8 a.m. for registration and breakfast. After enjoying a free meal, we invite you to browse the selection of door prizes to be given away, pick up your annual meeting gift (one per registered member, while supplies last) and visit informational booths before the business session begins at 10 a.m. If you have children, be sure to visit the Youth Corner.
An election to fill three seats on our board of directors will be held, and the results will be announced during the business session. You can learn more about each candidate on pages 20-21 of this magazine. The financial report will also be highlighted, and during the business session, we will give a recap of the cooperative’s activities during the past fiscal year.
If you are unable to attend, you can vote early in the director elections on Friday, Sept. 14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at your local CEMC office. Names of those who vote early will be entered in a drawing at their voting locations for a chance to win $100 electric bill credits.
I hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about your co-op, enjoy breakfast with neighbors and maybe even win a prize!
Meet the director candidates
Three seats on Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation’s board of directors will be filled during the cooperative’s 2018 annual meeting Saturday, Sept. 15, at Portland High School. Members will elect directors to fill the South Stewart, North Robertson and North Sumner positions.
CEMC’s Nominating Committee met July 10 and recommended incumbent directors Stephen E. Douglass, Michael A. Mason and Tommy G. Whittaker for re-election for new three-year terms. Nominated by petition is Rodney Swearingen, who is vying for the North Robertson County seat.
South Stewart County — Stephen E. Douglass
The nominee from South Stewart County is Stephen E. Douglass of Dover. Douglass has served as director since 2007. He is a Credentialed Cooperative Director and holds a Board Leadership Certificate and Director Gold Certificate from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).
Douglass is an agent at Sills Insurance Agency in Dover and has worked in the insurance business since 1973. He is a graduate of Murray State University where he was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in 1970 and a Master of Science degree in 1971.
His community activities include service as chairman of the Stewart County Emergency Communications District/911 Committee and chairman of Dover’s Industrial Relations Committee. Douglass is the father of a son, John S. Douglass.
North Robertson County — Michael A. Mason
Michael A. (Andy) Mason is the nominee from North Robertson County, an area he has represented as director since 1997.
Mason is a graduate of the University of Tennessee where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in animal science in 1979. He has continued his education since becoming a director in 1997 and holds Credentialed Cooperative Director, Board Leadership and Director Gold certificates from NRECA.
Mason is a self-employed turfgrass farmer in Springfield where he and his wife, Denise, have raised three daughters: Kayla, Kari and Kelsi. The Masons also have two sons-in-law, Adam and J.C., and a grandson, Collins. Andy and Denise are members of Temple Baptist Church in White House, and they are also helping in the continuing of a ministry with Springfield Fellowship.
“It has been an honor to serve as director not only for North Robertson County but for all of the members of CEMC,” says Mason.
North Robertson County — Rodney Swearingen
Nominated by petition for director of North Robertson County is Rodney Swearingen of Cross Plains.
Swearingen is an agency manager for Farm Bureau Insurance in Robertson County where he has been employed for the past 12 years. In 2017, his was named the state’s top agency. He is a 2000 graduate of the University of Tennessee at Martin, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice. He is also a certified Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow.
“I am a lifelong resident of Robertson County,” says Swearingen. “As a child growing up, my siblings and I were raised and provided for by the diligence my father put in with Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation until his retirement in 2017. I’ve seen firsthand through his hard work and long hours what made CEMC the corporation it has become. I have a vested interest and goal in trying to reach the rural areas with internet access with the help of the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act. I also feel passionately about providing the employees with the tools and training for what they may need to continue to bring service to us all.”
Swearingen and his wife, Lori, have two children: Hayden and Reese. The Swearingens are members of the Life Center Church in Cross Plains.
North Sumner County — Tommy G. Whittaker
North Sumner County’s board nominee is Tommy G. Whittaker of Portland, who has served on the board since 2004 and has been board president for the past five years.
Whittaker is president and CEO of The Farmers Bank in Portland where he has been employed for more than 40 years.
A 1974 business administration graduate of the University of Tennessee, Whittaker is a member of the Portland Lions Club and the Portland Industrial Development board and serves on the University of Tennessee board of trustees. He has also completed the required coursework for Credentialed Cooperative Director, Board Leadership, and Director Gold certifications from NRECA.
Whittaker and his wife, Shirley, are the parents of a daughter, Susan, and a son, Joseph.
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.
CEMC sends story winners on Washington Youth Tour
Twelve students from Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation’s service area recently spent a week in our nation’s capital as delegates on the 2018 Washington Youth Tour. Lauren Binkley, Pleasant View Christian; Rae Delligatti, Jo Byrns High School; Fulton Earheart, Jo Byrns High School; Anastasia Hawkins, Portland High School; Hunter Hayes, Montgomery Central High School; Eric Herring Jr., Jo Byrns High School; Alaina Horne, Montgomery Central High School; Harley Mathis, Stewart County High School; AJ Sanchez, Portland High School; Samantha Stacey, Springfield High School; and Kalena Taylor and Anna Welker, Stewart County High School, were among 135 students from across Tennessee on the weeklong trip that began Friday, June 8.
The annual event, sponsored by CEMC and the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, provides young leaders with an opportunity to explore the nation’s capital, learn about government and cooperatives and develop their leadership skills. Students were selected for the trip by writing winning short stories titled “Electric Cooperatives — Going Beyond the Wires” that explained how co-ops provide communities with much more than electric power.
“CEMC is pleased to provide this opportunity for the young people in the communities we serve,” says Stephanie Lobdell, CEMC community relations coordinator. “It is a great trip and a wonderful chance for these delegates to learn about history, government, co-ops and leadership.”
“The investments co-ops make in Youth Tour pay real dividends for these young people and the communities where they live,” said Todd Blocker, vice president of member relations for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association and tour director. “They come home with a deeper understanding of history and government. More importantly, we want them to be prepared to have a positive influence on their hometowns and to consider leadership roles when the opportunities come along.”
While in Washington, D.C., Tennessee’s Youth Tour delegates saw the White House and memorials to past presidents Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt as well as monuments honoring the sacrifices of veterans of World War II and the Vietnam and Korean Wars. During visits to the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, the touring Tennesseans saw and experienced natural, historical and artistic treasures. Other stops included historic homes of former presidents — George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Jefferson’s Monticello — as well as Toby’s Dinner Theatre, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and International Spy Museum. Among other Youth Tour highlights was a solemn and sobering visit to Arlington National Cemetery where the group laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
The group was welcomed to the U.S. Capitol by Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and members of the Tennessee congressional delegation who posed for photos and answered questions.
While in D.C., winners were announced in the statewide competition for the Robert McCarty Memorial Scholarships. Silas Freeze from Gibson Electric Membership Corporation was awarded the $3,000 first-place scholarship for writing the top-judged short story of the more than 10,000 papers submitted across the state. McKinley Thomas from Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative earned second-place honors and a $2,000 scholarship, and Mary Kate Sheppard from Forked Deer Electric Cooperative, third place, received a $1,000 scholarship.
McCarty was an employee of Volunteer Energy Cooperative and longtime chaperone on the annual Youth Tour. He lost a valiant battle with cancer in 2015, and sponsoring cooperatives renamed the scholarships in honor of his love for young people.
Matthew Byrd of Tipton County, a recent graduate of Munford High School, was awarded a $10,000 Cooperative Youth Ambassador Scholarship. Byrd was a 2017 delegate for Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation on the Washington Youth Tour. In the year following the tour, delegates who remain engaged with their sponsoring cooperatives and complete certain community service requirements are eligible for the scholarship. Byrd’s name was randomly selected from 37 delegates from across the state who completed the requirements.
“The excitement that co-op leaders and chaperones have for these students tells the story,” said David Callis, CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “These young people are the next generation of doctors and teachers and farmers in the communities we serve. We want them to be passionate about their communities and prepared to lead when those opportunities come along.”
President Lyndon Johnson, as a U.S. senator from Texas in 1957, inspired the Washington Youth Tour when he encouraged electric cooperatives to send youngsters to the nation’s capital. In the years since, more than 6,000 young Tennesseans have been delegates on the Washington Youth Tour.
Director candidates must meet July 17 deadline
Any member of Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation who is interested in serving on the board of directors can obtain a petition from the general manager’s office. Each petition must be signed by at least 15 members.
The petition must be completed and turned in by the deadline of Tuesday, July 17, which is 60 days prior to the 2018 annual meeting. This year’s meeting will be held Saturday, Sept. 15, at Portland High School in Sumner County.
An election will be held for each of the following director positions: South Stewart, North Robertson and North Sumner.
Anyone with a valid membership in good standing as of July 17 can vote in director elections. Those applying for membership after July 17 will not be eligible to vote in this year’s election but are welcome to attend the meeting and register for prizes.
(CEMC Bylaws Article 3 — Section 3.05)
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 is prepared for summer storms
Summer is here, school is out and the days are a little longer — and a little hotter. Summer brings with it a slower pace and more family time, but it also brings the possibility of severe storms. When that happens and the lights go out, you can be certain that Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation crews are prepared to respond.
Most power outages are caused by falling trees and branches. We work year-round to ensure that trees, branches or other types of vegetation grow a safe distance from our power lines.
Despite these efforts, major storms sometimes cause damage to our power distribution system. When this happens, our priority is to safely restore power to as many members as possible in the shortest amount of time.
During widespread outages, one of our first tasks is to assess the damage. This helps us prioritize the repairs and quickly respond to any safety issues. This also explains why our crews may enter your neighborhood and leave without restoring power. Before we can safely make repairs, we must first know exactly what is damaged.
Once we assess the system, we can begin restoration. We prioritize the repairs that will restore power to the most homes and businesses. This typically means that we fix main feeder lines first, followed by lines that serve neighborhoods or streets. Finally, we make repairs to service wires that feed individual homes. If the equipment connected to your home — like your meter base — is damaged, remember that an electrician must make those repairs before we can restore your service.
During these events, the more information we have, the better. If your power goes out, please let us know by calling 1-800-987-2362. Outages can also be reported via CEMC’s SmartHub mobile app. Don’t assume that someone else has reported the outage.
When outages occur, our crews take their responsibilities seriously. They work hard — day or night — in all types of weather to get the lights on quickly and safely for the communities we serve.
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.