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Category: UCEMC News

The Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation (UCEMC) is an electric power distribution cooperative. UCEMC is owned and operated by its members and distributes electric power through more than 4,735 miles of lines to more than 52,000 members located primarily in Jackson, Overton, Putnam and Smith Counties and northern DeKalb County. Several members are served in “fringe” areas of Clay, Fentress, Macon, Pickett, White, and Wilson Counties.

UCEMC Members Elect Directors

The results are in for the 2022 Directorate Election. Thanks to all members who voted!

District 1,  consisting of Smith, DeKalb, Macon, and Wilson Counties:  C.D. (Digger) Poindexter,  unopposed, received 500 votes.

District 3, Overton, Clay, Fentress, and Pickett Counties:  James West retains the seat with 499 votes. Opponent Stormy Halsell received 460 votes. 

District 4,  Jackson County Jim Brown, unopposed, received 525 votes.

Homeowners Report Solar Power Issues

The idea is to save money on their electric bill and “go green,” but according to these Tennessee homeowners, they’re spending more than ever before.

Check out their stories at the links below and remember – prior to signing any solar agreement please contact UCEMC’s Member Services advisors for help at 1-800-261-2940.

  • The dark side of solar power: A Middle Tennessee couple’s warning for others (watch on
  • Solar woes: Knoxville-based power company draws customers’ ire, state’s attention (watch on news10)



Police Report One Dead, Two Injured When Metal Ladder Contacts Power Line

A roofing company employee is dead and two others badly injured when police say a metal ladder they were working with came in contact with a power line in Wilson County. This is just one of the hazards of working near power lines that homeowners need to be aware of. Our UCEMC Safety Demonstration Team has important tips to keep you safe as you work:


Safety Device a Necessary Evil for UCEMC Linemen

Lineman On Pole 2

How can a device capable of causing a massive power outage also be a UCEMC Lineman’s best friend? District Manager Ben Winningham explains the culprit behind some recent outages in the Livingston area that our linemen literally cannot live without: 
(Press play to watch the video below!) 


Planned Outage Scheduled for Sunday, July 10

Power Outage Photo

Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation (UCEMC) plans an early morning power outage for approximately 240 Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation members. The power interruption will begin on Sunday, July 10, 2022, from 5:30 a.m. until approximately 7:00 a.m.

Members who reside in the following areas will be affected:

  • Trousdale Ferry Pike
  • Stonewall Road
  • Ben Gentry Lane
  • Club Springs Road
  • Smith’s Road
  • Pea Ridge Road
  • Bellar Hollow Road
  • Kirby Lane

UCEMC needs the early morning power interruption to safely set new poles, according to UCEMC General Manager and CEO Jennifer Brogdon.

“We regret any inconvenience the planned outage may cause,” Brogdon said. “Our crew must perform this work to ensure future growth and system reliability in the area.” The planned outage will be postponed if inclement weather, including lightning, is in the area or is expected at the scheduled time of the power interruption.

TVA Fuel Cost Adjustment to Double July 1, 2022

 Substations Distant

Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation alerts residential and commercial members to expect higher electric bills due to record-setting temperatures and an increase in Tennessee Valley Authority’s Fuel Cost Adjustment (FCA).

On July 1, TVA’s FCA will cost 2 cents per kilowatt-hour more than last July. Families who use 1,000 kilowatts each month will see an average increase of $20.73 on their electric bill compared to July 2021. TVA Fuel Cost refers to the variable cost of the fuels TVA uses to power coal plants, natural gas, and nuclear facilities that generate electricity. Upper Cumberland EMC is a distribution cooperative that buys power for its members from TVA. UCEMC does not retain any portion of this rate. 100% of the FCA goes to TVA. The FCA has remained steady for several years, but supply chain issues and inflation have caused the price to climb since this Spring. TVA’s Scott Brooks says the higher fuel rate is due to higher commodity prices. “Recently, there has been persistent upward and volatile movement in worldwide natural gas markets,” says Brooks. “The monthly fuel cost will likely remain elevated for upcoming months.”

Usage is one of the biggest drivers of electric bills. To help save, TVA recommends raising the thermostat and not using heat-generating appliances such as ovens, stoves, and clothes dryers during the hottest hours of the day between 12 p.m. and 8. p.m.

“We’re advising our members to conserve power to keep their costs down,” says Jennifer Brogdon, General Manager and CEO of Upper Cumberland EMC. “You pay for only what you use, and members who use less than average in this heat wave will see the savings on their monthly bill. For the third year in a row, UCEMC’s Board recently approved a rate reduction to pass along TVA’s pandemic recovery wholesale bill credit to help offer relief to our members during this challenging time.”

This month has seen record-breaking days for the TVA system, the 7th highest June peak in TVA history. UCEMC’s residential rates are among the lowest in the nation, falling 25% below the national average.

UCEMC is owned by those it serves, with more than 51,000 cooperative members and more than 4,600 miles of power lines running through service areas in Smith, Putnam, Jackson, and Overton counties and fringe areas of DeKalb, Macon, Wilson, White, Clay, Fentress, and Pickett counties.

The Linemen’s No-Sweat Tips for Keeping Cool

Lineman in Bucket

      You have to wonder why weather forecasters need to state the obvious. They remind us to stay out of the sun, wear light clothing, drink plenty of fluids, and take frequent breaks if we “must be outdoors in this heat.” When hot, humid ‘air you can wear’ hits you in the face the minute you step outside, it’s a no-brainer; run back inside, sit in front of a fan and drink ice water. But you have no choice if your job requires you to be outdoors when it’s 100 degrees. You become an expert on staying comfortable and safe because your life depends on it. Our forecaster friends warn us to pay attention to our health while concentrating on our outdoor work.

     Not that it gets any more comfortable with experience. Our UCEMC linemen ride in buckets to get up-up-up to where the heat is unbearable. They wear fire-retardant (FR) protective, long-sleeved clothing, thick rubber gloves, sleeve coverings, and unventilated hard hats. This required personal protective equipment (PPE) causes them to drip with sweat as they work with electricity.

     “Our linemen are working in rubber sleeves in this extreme heat, and the sweat is pooling in the fingertips of their gloves,” says UCEMC District Manager Tommy Pitman, recalling his days as a lineman. “With the hot weather expected this week, the safety gear is a necessary evil. It wasn’t that long ago when the FR gear we wore was not meant for comfort. Today, the gear is more comfortable but unforgiving in the Tennessee heat.”

In many cases, UCEMC linemen can’t choose what time of day they’ll be at the top of that pole. An outage might determine that for them, but whenever extreme heat and complicated energized work is involved, UCEMC makes every effort to allow our crews to work an altered schedule and begin earlier to avoid the most extreme heat during the day. The truck coolers are packed with ice, water, and plenty of low-sodium electrolyte drinks for each crew. They’re advised to avoid tea, coffee, or any drink containing caffeine, which causes dehydration. Linemen not working in the primary zone are permitted to wear short-sleeved cotton T-shirts.

For these guys, staying cool during hot Tennessee days is simply a matter of common sense. Staying safe in this extreme heat means recognizing when they’re in the heat danger zone. When the focus is on the task, and you ignore sipping on water or taking a break in the shade,  your body might remind you by displaying some unpleasant symptoms:

Heat Cramps – When you’re dehydrated from pouring sweat and not replenishing all that water loss, you’ll experience muscle spasms. Remedy: Move to a shady spot, preferably under a tree. Trees release water into the air. Sitting in the shade of a tree can make the temperature feel 10-15 degrees cooler. Drink cold water to lower the body temperature or a sports drink – preferably a lower sodium variety that contains electrolytes. Apply a cold, wet cloth to the back of your neck and forehead.

Heat Exhaustion – When those heat cramps are accompanied by dizziness, nausea or vomiting, headache, or fainting, you’ve reached the danger zone. Remedy:  Remove any protective clothing, i.e., vests, gloves, hats, and long sleeves. Rest and allow your body to cool-down; below 100 degrees. Seek emergency medical help if these steps don’t relieve your symptoms.

Heatstroke – Emergency medical attention is vital, and symptoms of this potentially fatal condition can mimic any stroke: Victims may be confused or disoriented. They may have slurred speech. They either have hot, dry skin, or they’re pouring sweat with a body temperature climbing as high as 104 degrees. They might suffer seizures or convulsions. Remedy: Call 911. Move the person to the shade. Apply cold compresses and pour water on the victim’s clothing, putting them near a fan if possible. Please do not give the heatstroke victim anything to drink as it could cause a choking hazard. Keep the victim calm and relaxed until EMTs arrive. 

No-Sweat tips for keeping your cool at home

Even if you’re not out in the glaring sun, the risk of overheating is still there – especially for the elderly and our pets.

Moving the air around your home doesn’t lower the temperature, but it can make your body feel more relaxed when sitting near a fan. Remember that ceiling fans only cool the people in the room – not the room itself. Turn the fan off when you leave to save energy. If you have a heat pump, turn the unit to the FAN setting. The air will circulate throughout the house and help you feel refreshed.

Throwing shade

If you need more cool-air circulation and don’t have an air conditioner, close the windows, curtains, or blinds on the sunny side of the house and open the windows on the shady side. As the sun moves during the day, follow the shade – closing the sunny windows and blinds and opening the now shady windows. Placing window fans in the shadiest window of the home will get a cool breeze blowing through in no time.

Stopping the thermo-games

Mom likes to set the thermostat at 71 in the summer, and dad prefers the setting of Nome, Alaska. A constant battle can cause an enormous stir when the resulting higher electric bill arrives. Don’t play with the thermostat if you have an air conditioner or HVAC. Agree on a reasonable, comfortable temperature, set the thermostat, and don’t change it. When the thermostat setting is continuously altered, everything within the house becomes cooler or warmer. This see-saw thermostat game causes the cooling system to operate much longer, and the entire home and contents must acclimate to the new temperature.

The salad days

Eat fresh meals. Tuna or egg salad. Crisp lettuce with chopped veggies. Iceberg lettuce wedges. Fruit and cheese platters. You don’t have to fire up the stove. Yum! We’re getting cooler – and hungry – just thinking about it.

Chill out and deal

We have no control over the weather here in the Upper Cumberland, but we can adjust the way we live with it. Plan ahead! Slather on sunscreen and schedule work around the coolest part of the day, keeping an eye on the elderly, children, and pets to help them cope with these scorching days ahead!


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