Safety matters: What to do if you see a downed power line
Even if every home in your neighborhood loses electricity during a storm, a power line hanging loose could very well be “live” and kill you if you touch it. Just because the electricity is out doesn’t mean power lines are dead. If you see a downed line:
• Don’t touch it, not with your hand, body, stick, broom — not with anything. Stay as far away from the line as possible.
• Call 911 and Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation at 1-800-987-2362.
• If your car or another person is touching a downed line, don’t touch your car or that person. The power could flow through them and into you.
• Don’t drive your car over a downed wire.
• If the line falls on your car while you’re in it, stay inside. The ground around your car could be energized, so you could be electrocuted if you touch the ground.
• Teach children about the dangers of fallen power lines.
Osmose working to inspect, test and treat wood poles
Osmose Utilities Service Inc., a contractor working for Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation, will be working to inspect, test and treat wood utility poles within the cooperative’s service area. Workers are expected to begin inspecting poles around 10/30/17 and will be present in CEMC's service area for the next several months.
The purpose of the program is to inspect and treat the poles on a cyclical basis. CEMC hopes to prolong the life of existing poles by applying decay-preventing treatments and replacing those that are no longer safe enough to leave in its plant.
Osmose workers can be identified by the hardhats and brightly colored safety vests they wear. They will also carry laminated ID badges and their vehicles will be marked with magnetic signs. Members who have concerns about the legitimacy of workers on their property are encouraged to contact CEMC at 1-800-987-2362 for more information.
Cooperation among cooperatives
CEMC sent nine lineworkers to Georgia to help restore power to those affected by Hurricane Irma in September.
CEMC assisted Flint Energies, an electric cooperative in Reynolds, Georgia, that was severely impacted by this catastrophic event. At the height of the storm-caused outage, Flint reported that 33,000 of its 87,000 members were without power.
CEMC was one of 11 Tennessee cooperatives that sent crews to Florida and Georgia following the massive hurricane. Tennessee crews joined an additional 5,000 electric cooperative workers from 25 states. This is possible through mutual-aid agreements among electric cooperative.
(by Jim Coode, General Manager)
On Nov. 23, our country will celebrate Thanksgiving — a time when we pause to express gratitude. With that in mind, here are a few things for which I am grateful.
I am thankful for our country. You hear a lot these days about how divided our nation is, and that may be true politically. However, we have also seen Americans pull together to support those impacted by recent natural disasters. In fact, nine of our own linemen volunteered to spend four days restoring power in Georgia following Hurricane Irma. It is in such settings that we see the American spirit on display. At our core, we care for our neighbors, and that’s something that is worthy of gratitude.
I am thankful for the communities that are served by our co-op. We have many opportunities throughout the year to work with elected officials, community leaders, teachers, volunteers and ordinary people whose efforts combine to make our part of Tennessee a better place. I am grateful for their commitment to the communities we all call home.
I am thankful for our co-op family. Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation’s 234 employees are passionate about service. When the lights go off, that doesn’t just impact random people — it affects our family, friends and neighbors. Keeping the power on and providing second-to-none service are personal to our employees, and they are very good at what they do. The average CEMC member has had service 99.96 percent of the time so far this year. That’s quite extraordinary.
Finally, I am thankful for family. The holidays present unique opportunities to spend extra time with those you care about most. Family comes in many shapes and sizes, and regardless of what family means to you, I hope your holidays are filled with the people you love. Our offices will be closed Thursday and Friday, Nov. 23 and 24, to allow our employees to spend time with their families. I challenge you in the hustle and stress of the holidays to take some time to truly consider the people and things for which you are most grateful. It will be an uplifting reminder of your many blessings.
Be prepared to vote on every Election Day
The 2016 elections are fading in the rearview mirror, but that doesn’t mean the voting is over. While the next presidential election won’t be upon us until 2020, there are countless state and local elections between now and then that have a major impact on life in our local communities, including rural America. That’s why Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation remains engaged in a national get-out-the-vote campaign called Co-ops Vote. We invite you to join us.
Co-ops Vote is a nonpartisan project of America’s electric cooperatives designed to encourage co-op members to vote and support their co-ops and their communities when they go to the polls. The program does not endorse or recommend candidates for election. Co-ops Vote was launched in 2016 to reverse a troubling trend: In the 2012 elections, voter turnout in rural areas declined by 18 percent — twice the voter drop-off seen nationally.
More than 700 electric co-ops in 47 states responded by joining the Co-ops Vote program to increase voter engagement in the communities they serve, and it was a tremendous success. Rural voter turnout in 2016 increased by more than half a million Americans. Together, we grew our political influence and encouraged lawmakers to pay more attention to the issues affecting rural Americans.
We need to harness this momentum and ensure that Co-ops Vote continues to thrive.
There are more than 1,000 local and state elections being held this year. Unfortunately, these critical elections are often ignored by the majority of voters. Many people see these “smaller” elections as less important than national contests. In reality, state and local elections have an even greater impact on local communities because the candidates are running on local issues, which are closer to voters’ everyday lives than many national issues.
Whether your next election is a local or state contest this year or a federal election in 2018, Co-ops Vote has a number of activities to help rural Americans stay engaged in the political process. Visit www.vote.coop to join and learn more. And, by all means, make sure you are registered to vote and that you cast your ballot on Election Day — every Election Day.
Use less energy in the kitchen this Thanksgiving
By mid-morning on Thanksgiving Day, your turkey will be in the oven, pies will be baking, casseroles will be heating up and all of the burners on your stove will be covered with pots and pans full of holiday favorites.
That’s a lot of energy to use at one time. Dial it back a bit so you don’t waste any electricity while you’re preparing your feast. Here are some tips:
• Use the oven light to check on your turkey’s progress instead of opening the door to peek at it every now and then. Every time you open the door, the temperature inside drops by at least 25 degrees.
• Choose oven-baked side dishes that can cook at the same time as the turkey and at the same temperature. That will cut the time the oven is on and save some cook time, too.
• Trade your metal baking dishes for glass and ceramic pans. Because those materials retain heat better than metal, you can reduce the oven temperature by as much as 25 degrees without sacrificing perfection. In fact, glass and ceramic pans continue to cook the food even after you take it out of the oven.
• Place lids on all stovetop pots. If they fit tightly, lids will keep heat in, so you can lower the temperature. Plus, your food will cook faster.
• Turn down your home thermostat. If the oven and stove are on all day, your kitchen will be hot and the rest of the house will feel warmer than usual. So
dial back the heat — substantially. You and your dinner guests will be more comfortable, and you won’t waste energy.
Project Help donations help neighbors in need
Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation, in cooperation with local energy-assistance agencies, offers a program in which members who choose to participate can make donations each month to help provide some relief to individuals who are struggling to pay their utility bills.
The program, Project Help, allows members to pay an additional $1 on their electric bills each month to help pay the utility bills of the elderly, disabled and/or those who are not economically self-sufficient. Project Help is a voluntary program. All money collected from Project Help goes to community action agencies, which determine how these special funds are distributed. Here’s how the Project Help program works:
Who is eligible to receive Project Help funds?
To qualify, Project Help recipients must contact their local energy assistance agencies. Recipients will be required to provide proof that they are unable to bear the cost of heating their homes and that they do not exceed the annual income limit established for the assistance program.
How are the funds administered?
When CEMC receives your Project Help donation, 100 percent of the money goes directly to the assistance agency that administers the program in your county. The agency distributes the assistance based on qualifying needs.
Who contributes to Project Help?
Everyone can contribute to CEMC’s Project Help program. The minimum donation is $1 per month.
How long do I donate to Project Help?
You are billed each month on your CEMC statement for the amount you wish to donate. You will continue to be billed each month until you notify CEMC that you would like to discontinue your donation.
How will I know I am donating each month?
You will see a separate line on your CEMC statement to show your Project Help donation.
How do I sign up?
If you would like to donate $1 or more each month to Project Help, you can do so by marking the box on your bill stub and completing the Project Help section on the back of your bill or by contacting CEMC Customer Service either by phone at 800-987-2362 or live chat on our website, www.cemc.org.
By donating to Project Help, you can make a difference for someone in need this winter. Please consider joining us in warming the homes of our neighbors by contributing to Project Help. A dollar a month can truly make a difference.
CEMC board selects Davis as assistant general manager
In preparation for the upcoming retirement of General Manager Jim Coode, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation’s board of directors recently selected Chris A. Davis to fill the position of assistant general manager. Davis will work closely with Coode, who has served as CEMC’s general manager since 2008, until his retirement later next year. Davis will assume the title of general manager at that time.
Davis is a 33-year CEMC veteran who has spent the past four years as administrative division manager. He was first hired Jan. 3, 1984, as a part-time dispatcher in CEMC’s system control center.
Other titles held by Davis include field engineer, power use and marketing advisor, metering technician, planning engineer, project engineer, transmission and distribution supervisor, and engineering division manager.
2018 CEMC calendar art contest winners
Young artists from schools throughout Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation’s service area submitted hundreds of entries for the 2018 CEMC Calendar Art Contest. The winners have been selected, and although the calendar won’t be available until Nov. 1, we just couldn’t resist sharing a sneak peek of a few of this year’s winners! Winning artwork will be featured in two different wall calendars — one for the East Region and one for the West Region — as well as pocket calendars in five different designs. The free calendars will be available at each of CEMC’s district business offices beginning Nov. 1.
Thank you to all the students who submitted artwork and the teachers and parents who encouraged participation. We can’t wait to showcase the art of these talented students
Fall into energy efficiency
The summer heat will soon pass, and the fading greenery will soon announce that fall is here. When the temperatures settle into comfortable levels, we often venture out into the beautiful Tennessee outdoors. While this time of year may be ideal for enjoying the falling leaves, it is also a great time to tend to those to-do lists we’ve been postponing during the heat of the summer.
During this season, many take advantage of the tolerable temperatures by opening windows instead of running air conditioning. This is also a great time to review your energy use, which can be done by using Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation’s SmartHub mobile app or by logging in to your account at www.cemc.org. Heating and cooling typically make up around 50 percent of any home’s energy consumption, so comparing energy used from the June-August cooling seasons to the March-May and September-November periods can often illustrate the impact that space-cooling has on your operating cost.
Tune it up
As heating and cooling make up the largest portion of energy consumption, it is important to keep your home’s heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system in good maintenance. Of course, changing your air filters each month is the first step, but it is also advised to have HVAC maintenance performed twice a year. Spring and fall are excellent times to do so.
In performing a tune-up, the technician will clean both coils, lubricate any moving parts, inspect the condensate drains for obstruction and look for any maintenance issues to be addressed before the next operating season. Remember that a $50 tune-up today might save you $1,000 tomorrow!
Seal it up
It’s always a great time to keep the indoor air inside the house. Any drafty areas you noticed last winter are probably due to air infiltration. Check the weather-stripping on doors and windows; any repairs here can be completed very inexpensively. Inspect for cracked or missing caulking around windows and baseboards. With a little effort and small expense, you can prepare your home to be ready for the rest of the year.
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.
Lives on the line
Every year, we take the time to thank our extraordinary lineworkers who dedicate their lives to keeping the lights on in our local communities. Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation’s lineworkers maintain 7,822 miles of line in CEMC’s service territory, and without these employees, our world would be dark.
We depend on our entire staff to keep CEMC running smoothly, but on April 10, we honor all lineworkers who often find themselves in dangerous and challenging situations so our lives can be a little bit brighter and safer every day. These brave individuals repair damaged lines and maintain critical infrastructure for our communities. Without their hard work and commitment to the job, our co-op would not thrive. No matter the time — day or night, weekday or weekend — if the lights go out, so do they.
Perhaps you have seen them raising their bucket trucks in howling winds and torrential rains or in freezing, icy conditions. They work around the clock near high-voltage power lines until electricity is restored to every member in our co-op community.
In addition to aiding members in our local service territory, lineworkers are always willing and eager to volunteer when a neighboring community, county or state is in need during a major outage.
Our lineworkers are brave, committed and critical to our success. We hope you will join us in thanking the many lineworkers — both locally and around the world — who light our lives. Remember, your power works because they do!
CEMC pays $4 million in property taxes
As a business locally owned by its members, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation pays our fair share of ad valorem property taxes in Cheatham, Dickson, Robertson, Stewart and Sumner counties.
This year, we will pay more than $4 million in property taxes. The taxes we pay are based on the assessed value of the cooperative’s electrical distribution system (consisting of such items as poles, wires, transformers, meters and property) located in the counties we serve.
The taxes we pay are used by our communities to pay teachers, police officers and firemen, build roads and parks and many other activities important to our co-op members.
CEMC thanks area schools that make youth programs possible
Partnership among local schools and Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation creates big opportunities for area students
Each summer, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation sends 12 rising high school seniors to spend a week exploring Washington, D.C., learning about government and cooperatives and developing their leadership skills. This opportunity is made possible thanks to a strong partnership with area high schools and their teachers.
Students earn spots on the tour by writing winning short stories titled “Electric Cooperatives — Going Beyond the Wires” that explain how co-ops provide communities with much more than electric power. It’s all a part of the annual Washington Youth Tour Creative Writing and Scholarship Contest.
Youth Tour delegates also have the opportunity to win a share of $16,000 in scholarships from CEMC and Tennessee’s electric cooperatives.
“We recognize how important it is to prepare the next generation of rural leaders,” says Stephanie Lobdell, CEMC community relations coordinator. “We could not do this without the support we receive from area schools and teachers.”
CEMC works with teachers throughout its five-county service area to promote the Washington Youth Tour Writing Contest. As schedules permit, Lobdell visits schools, making presentations about Youth Tour in January and February each year. (NOTE: The deadline for the 2017 contest has already passed.) Winners of the 2017 Washington Youth Tour contest will be selected and notified this month and announced in the June issue of The Tennessee Magazine.
New energy-efficiency program
Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation and the Tennessee Valley Authority are offering homeowners a new program to make it easier than ever to become more energy-efficient. This program, called eScore, provides members with a clear path to make their home a 10 — the highest energy-efficiency designation.
Participation in eScore gives members access to rebates on qualified energy upgrades for their homes — saving them money and increasing their homes’ comfort while allowing them to work toward scores of 10 at their own pace. Best of all, members can utilize the eScore program as many times as needed to achieve their home’s best possible energy performance.
Here’s how it works:
Step 1 - Participants can register online at www.2eScore.com to get started.
Step 2 - The participant contacts a Quality Contractor Network (QCN) member to complete desired upgrades. A list of QCN members is available on CEMC’s website, www.cemc.org, and eScore’s website, www.2eScore.com. A QCN contractor can discuss options, rebates and program details with the participant.
Step 3 - A first-time eScore participant receives a FREE eScore evaluation of the home AND a quality- assurance inspection of the work performed by the QCN contractor. A TVA-certified energy advisor will visit and evaluate the home to provide an eScore and a customized list of upgrades and rebates available. An eScore evaluation includes a detailed eScore report, that contains:
• An eScore card, which ranks the home from 1 to 10 — 10 being the best.
•A customized list of recommended energy-efficiency upgrades that can be made over time helping the home achieve a 10.
•Photos of the elavuated areas.
•A list of rebates for all qualified energy-efficiency upgrades.
Participants who wish to have an eScore evaluation performed on their home before any work is done may do so for a nonrefundable fee of $75. These evaluations can also be requested by registering online as outlined in Step 1. A representative from CEMC will contact the participant to schedule the evaluation.
Financing is available for eligible recommended improvements, subject to credit approval.Learn more and register at www.2escore.com
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.