79th annual meeting returns to Montgomery County

On behalf of the directors, management and staff of Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation, I invite our members to attend our cooperative’s 2017 annual membership meeting. This year’s meeting will be Saturday, Oct. 21, at Rossview High School in Clarksville. It has been a few years since our last meeting in Montgomery County, and we look forward to returning to RHS.

Doors will open at 8 a.m. for registration and breakfast, followed by the business session at 10 a.m. Prior to the business session, we invite you to browse through the selection of door prizes to be given away, pick up your annual meeting gift (one per registered member, while supplies last), visit informational booths, enjoy musical entertainment provided by the Backlot Pickers, view a high-voltage safety demonstration provided by CDE Lightband and visit the Youth Corner.

An election to fill four 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 the following pages. We will also highlight the financial report and give a recap of the cooperative’s activities during the last fiscal year.

If you are unable to attend the meeting, you can vote early in the director elections on Friday, Oct. 20, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at your local office. Names of those who voted early will be entered in a drawing at their voting locations for $100 electric bill credits.

On a more personal note, this will be my final annual meeting as general manager of CEMC, so I hope to see and thank as many of you as possible before I begin my retirement next year.

Read more about the Annual Meeting in the October issue of the Tennessee Magazine.


Meet the director candidates

Four seats on Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation’s board of directors will be filled during the cooperative’s 2017 annual membership meeting on Saturday, Oct. 21, at Rossview High School. Members will elect directors to fill these positions: North Stewart, North Montgomery, South Sumner and director at large.

CEMC’s Nominating Committee met Aug. 8 and recommended incumbent directors Charles Hancock, Edward Oliver, Joe Whitaker Sr. and Shela Williams for re-election for new three-year terms. Nominated by petition are Jamie Reynolds, who is vying for director at large, and Thomas Staten, running for the South Sumner County seat.

Charles R. Hancock is the nominee from North Stewart County. Hancock was appointed to the board in 2013 to serve the remainder of the term vacated by Jerry T. Peacher upon his retirement. Hancock is seeking his second elected term as director.
Hancock is a self-employed farmer in Bumpus Mills where he and his wife, Jennifer, have raised three daughters. The family belongs to Bumpus Mills Church of Christ.

Hancock has earned the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Credentialed Cooperative Director certification. He also serves as president of the Stewart County Farm Bureau and is a state director for the Tennessee Farm Bureau.
Edward L. Oliver is the nominee from North Montgomery County. Oliver was appointed to serve the remainder of the term vacated by Carrol O. Poole in June 2013 and is now seeking his second elected term as director.

Oliver is retired executive vice president of Clarksville Department of Electricity where he worked for 35 years. Prior to his employment at the electric department, he served in the U.S. Air Force. Oliver has earned the advanced certified power executive designation from the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association and NRECA’s Credentialed Cooperative Director, Board Leadership and Director Gold certifications. Oliver attended Community College of the Air Force, Austin Peay State University, Nashville State Community College and University of Tennessee Electric Meter School. He is also a graduate of Leadership Clarksville. Oliver and his wife, Melissa, live in Clarksville and have two children.

Nominated by petition for director at large is Jamie Reynolds of Springfield. Reynolds, a graduate of Vanderbilt University, is a retired electrical engineer with more than 40 years of experience in the consulting engineering industry where he was responsible for the electrical design of commercial, industrial and power facilities. He held the position of electrical department manager for more than 25 years. He is a senior life member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and a member of the IEEE Industrial Society and Power and Energy Society. He presently holds or has held a Professional Engineering license in 14 states. “With the rapid growth of industry in our counties, I would like to offer my experience to the members of CEMC,” says Reynolds. “One aspect that will qualify our members for jobs in growing industries is computer skills. This year the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act, which permits Tennessee’s private, nonprofit electric cooperatives to provide retail broadband service and provides grants and tax credits to assist in making broadband available to unserved homes and businesses, was passed. As well as providing reliable and cost-effective electrical service, I would like our cooperative to explore the feasibility of providing broadband service.”

Nominated by petition for director of South Sumner County is Thomas O. Staten of Hendersonville. Staten is a civil servant who has worked for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs as a realty specialist/quality assurance auditor for the past 34 years. He also serves as senior pastor at Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Castalian Springs. Prior to his employment with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Staten served in the United States military, completing two tours of duty in Vietnam. Staten is a graduate of Volunteer State Community College, where he received an associate degree in applied science in business; Trevecca University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in management and human resources; and American Baptist College, where he graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in theology. Staten is also treasurer on the board of Good Neighbor Mission of Sumner County, chair of the supervisory committee of the U.S. Community Credit Union in Nashville, a member of Prince Hall Masonic Lodge Freemont No. 270 in Gallatin, a former Tennessee Promise mentor and a former coach for the Upward Basketball Program at Beech Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Hendersonville.

“I have been directly involved in and worked with the nonprofit sector for more than 15 years in an effort to make our community a better place,” Staten says. “I also share the same concerns for our communities that are the guiding principles of CEMC. Because of my passion for these same principles, I feel my presence and expertise would enhance the ability of the board to lead CEMC into the future and make our community a great place to live, work and play.” Staten and his wife, Beverly, have two children: Juan Lamont and Tamika Nicole.

Joe H. Whitaker Sr. is the nominee for South Sumner County. Whitaker joined the CEMC board in 1999 and served as board president for 13 years. He is a Credentialed Cooperative Director and also holds a Board Leadership Certificate and a Director Gold Certificate from NRECA. He is seeking his seventh term as director. Whitaker, who lives in Gallatin, is a real estate property manager, an occupation he has practiced for more than 30 years. He holds a bachelor of science degree in business from Eastern Kentucky University.

A former member of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association board of directors, Whitaker is also active in the United Chambers of Commerce, Greater Gallatin Chamber of Commerce, Sumner Academy, Leadership Sumner and Cairo Community Club. He has two grown children and two grandchildren.

Shela Williams of Stewart County is the nominee for the at-large seat on CEMC’s 10-member board of directors. She joined the board in 1999; holds Director Gold, Board Leadership and Credentialed Cooperative Director certificates from NRECA; and has served as secretary-treasurer on CEMC’s board since 2004. She is seeking her seventh term as director. Williams is employed by F&M Bank in Clarksville where she is senior vice president of marketing/branch administrator. She is a graduate of Leadership Clarksville, Tennessee School of Banking, Southeastern School of Sales Leadership at Vanderbilt University and American Institute of Banking.
She and her husband, James S. Williams, live in Bumpus Mills. They have a grown son and a granddaughter.

Planned Power Outage

There will be a planned power outage Thursday, Oct. 19 affecting around 15 members on Winsome Lane and Kirkpatrick Court in Adams. The outage is expected to last from 9 to 10 a.m. while crews replace equipment in the area. Affected members will receive a courtesy call. We appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

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,

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.

Help us celebrate National Co-op Month

Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation is joining 30,000 cooperatives nationwide in October to celebrate National Co-op Month, which recognizes the many ways cooperatives are committed to strengthening the local communities they serve. “Co-ops Commit” is the theme for this year’s celebration, spotlighting the countless ways cooperatives meet the needs of their members and communities.

“Our cooperative delivers electricity to members in our five-county service area of Middle Tennessee,” says CEMC General Manager Jim Coode. “Delivering safe, reliable, affordable power is our top priority, but we are also invested in our communities because we are locally owned and operated.

Rural America is served by a network of about 1,000 electric cooperatives, most of which were formed in the 1930s and ’40s to bring electricity to farms and rural communities that large, investor-owned power companies had no interest in serving because of the higher costs involved in serving low-population and low-density areas.
In addition to providing the vital power co-op members depend on, CEMC engages with local communities through its participation in activities such as Relay for Life, electrical safety demonstrations, Washington Youth Tour, Read Across America, food drives and scholarship programs.

In conjunction with National Co-op Month, CEMC is joining cooperatives across the state to participate in the first Tennessee Electric Co-op Day of Service on Thursday, Oct. 5. CEMC is celebrating by hosting a community food drive at each of its business offices.
CEMC employees and members are encouraged to participate by bringing in nonperishable food items to any CEMC business office on Oct. 5 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Members who donate five or more items will receive, while supplies last, a free light-emitting diode (LED) bulb.

All items collected will be distributed to those in need through local food banks.
Thank you in advance for your support and joining in on our celebration of Co-op Month!

Director candidates must meet Aug. 22 deadline

Members of Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation who are interested in serving on the board of directors can obtain petitions 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, Aug. 22, which is 60 days prior to the 2017 annual meeting. This year’s meeting will be held Saturday, Oct. 21, at Rossview High School in Clarksville.

An election will be held for the following director positions: North Stewart, North Montgomery, South Sumner and Director At Large. Anyone with a valid membership in good standing as of Aug. 22 can vote in director elections. Those applying for membership after Aug. 22 will not be eligible to vote in this year’s election but are welcome to attend the meeting and register for prizes.

(CEMC Bylaws Aticle 3 — Section 3.05)


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 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!

Annual Meeting notice

Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation is preparing for its 2017 annual meeting, which will be held Saturday, Oct. 21, at Rossview High School in Clarksville. Doors will open at 8 a.m. for registration, and the business session will begin at 10 a.m. Join us for a complimentary breakfast, browse through the selection of door prizes offered, visit our information booths and be sure to check out the Youth Corner. Watch for additional information in future issues of The Tennessee Magazine.

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  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,, and eScore’s website, 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


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.

Sign Up / More Information