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It Changed Everything POWERSOUTH’S FIRST 75 YEARS


MITCHELL ALEXANDER • FRANKLIN ANDERSON • HEATHER ANDERSON • JASON ANDERSON • STEVIE ANDERSON • JOE ARMSTRONG MICHAEL ARMSTRONG • JOHN ARNOLD • JAMES ARRINGTON • KIMBERLY ARRINGTON • THOMAS AVERILL • STEVEN AYERS • KENNETH BAGGETT SUZY BAKER • JAMES BALLARD • MICHAEL BALLARD • RACHEL BALLARD • CLAYTON BAREFOOT • MICHAEL BARTON • JAMES BATLEY JOSEPH BAXLEY • JAMES BAYLES • MITCHELL BEASLEY • DARYL BECK • ROBERT BECKHAM • TERRY BEDSOLE • WINDELL BEDWELL • JIMMY BEECH GREGORY BENNETT • TRACEY BENNETT • EDWARD BENTLEY • DENNIS BEVERLY • JOSEPH BEVERLY • JOSHUA BEVERLY • JONATHAN BISHOP JOSHUA BLACKBURN • MICHAEL BLACKLEDGE • WANDA BLACKMON • MICHAEL BLOCKER • WILLIAM BLOUNT • PAMELA BOND • STEVEN BOOTH COURTNEY BOWERS • KIMBERLY BOWERS • WILLIAM BOYD • CINDY BOZEMAN • DEBRA BRACEWELL • WILLIAM BRACEWELL • TIMOTHY BRACKE HELEN BRADLEY • CAROL BRAY • KEVIN BRELAND • HARVEY BRENTS • WILLIAM BREWER • WILTON BROCK • JENNIFER BROOKS • SCOTT BROOKS CLIFTON BROWN • DANIEL BROWN • ARTHUR BRUNSON • GREGORY BRUNSON • BRADLEY BRYAN • CORY BRYAN • KEVIN BRYAN • FRED BRYANT IRA BRYANT • VANN BUMPERS • JEFFERY BUNDRICK • JASON BUSBY • WILLIAM BUSBY • DELORES BUSH • GREGORY BUSH • MATTHEW BUSH PHILIP BUSH • RICHARD BUTTS • MICHAEL BYRD • TERRY CALDWELL • DOUGLAS CAMPBELL • TRACEY CANANT • CHRISTOPHER CARAWAY TUNDE CARAWAY • DAWN CARNLEY • LYNDA CARNLEY • STACY CARPENTER • TIFFANY CARRIGAN • GABRIEL CARTEE • CLAY CARTER MICHAEL CASSADY • KEITH CASTLEBERRY • THEODORE CENTNER • JOSEPH CHANDLER • RONNIE CHAPMAN • SCOTTY CHASTAIN • REGINALD CHESTANG MARTY CHESTEEN • KENNETH CLARKE • NICHOLAS CLELAND • CHRISTOPHER CLEMENTS • WILLIAM COBB • RICHARD COCHRAN BENNY JO COCKRELL • COLBY COHRON • DUSTIN COKER • CHRISTOPHER COLEMAN • AMY COLVIN • RICHARD COOK • JOEY COOPER ERIC COPELAND • CHERYL COTTON • KENNETH COUNSELMAN • RICHARD COXWELL • EDITH CRAFT • MARK CRAIG • HEATHER CRAVEY LISA CRAVEY • MARCUS CRISWELL • SHERRY CRISWELL • ANGELA CRITTENDEN • VICKIE CROFT • LAMAR CROWE • PAIGE CULBRETH • LARRY CURRY DIANNE CURRY • JEFFERY DANFORD • MICHAEL DAUPHIN • CALVIN DAVENPORT • JOHN DAVIS • OTHO DAVIS • RICHARD DAVIS • JOSEPH DAY MARK DAYTON • JOHN DEAN • DERICK DEARMON • PERRY DEARMON • THOMAS DEAS • DANIEL DEES • THOMAS DEFEE • MARILYN DENSON MATTHEW DIAMOND • JAMES DILLARD • LISA DODD • DAVID DOGGETT • ROBERT DONALDSON • JAMES DOWLING • CATHERINE DUBOSE HUNTER DUBOSE • JAMES DUBOSE • JOHNATHAN DUBOSE DUSTIN DUNAGAN • CHRISTOPHER DUNBAR • JAMES DUNN • LARRY DUNN BELINDA DUNN • CHARLEE DUNN • CHARLES DUTTON • MICHAEL DYESS • LINDA EASTMAN • ERICKA ECHOLS • DIANE EDGAR • DANA ELLIOTT CORY ELLIS • JONATHAN ELLISON • BENJAMIN ELMORE • DAVIS ELMORE • MARK ELMORE • RANDY ELMORE • STEPHEN ERDY JEFFERY ETHEREDGE • CHARLIE ETHERIDGE • WILLIAM EVERS • J.J. FARRINGTON • JAMES FLEMING • DAVID FLOOD • JOHN FLOYD TAMMY FOLEY • JOHN FORE • KELLEY FORE • JIMMY FOSHEE • JOHN FOSHEE • MATTHEW FOWLER • LARECIA FOWLER • KEVIN FREENEY GILMER GAMMAGE • MARION GANTT • PATRICIA GATLIN • LAUREL GERMAN • ROBERT GILLEY • MICHAEL GLENN • GREGORY GOLDMAN JOHN GOLDMAN • MICHAEL GOLDMAN • WILLIAM GOLDMAN • DAVID GOMILLION • AMY GOODSON • CALEB GOODWYN • DONNA GORUM JEFFREY GORUM • WILLIAM GRAHAM • NICHOLAS GRANA • LEIGH GRANTHAM • STEVEN GRIFFIN • JAMES GRIMES • MELVIN GRIMES VIRGINIA GRIMES • STEPHEN GRISSETT • SUZANNE GRISSETT • JAMES GUILFORD • CHARLES GUNTER • RALPH GUNTER • ALVIN GUY BRANDON HALL • TERRY HALL • CARL HAM • MILES HAMMAC • SETH HAMMETT • MARION HAMMONDS • LISA HANEY • KENNETH HARBUCK HOWARD HARDAGE • JEREMY HARDY • RODGER HARE • MICHAEL HARKINS • RUSSELL HARPER • GARY HARRELL • JAMES HARRELL • MARK HARRELL SUZANNE HARRELL • JAMES HARRELSON • PERCY HARRIS • THOMAS HARRISON • WAYNE HARRISON • CHRISTOPHER HARWELL • JAMES HATTAWAY MICHAEL HATTAWAY • JAMES HAWKINS • JASON HAWKINS • MORGAN HAYES • JAMES HELMS • DELANA HENAGAN • ANTHONY HENDERSON ARCHIE HENDERSON • CHAD HENDERSON • HUBERT HENDERSON • RONNIE HENDRIX • ELVIS HENNIS • ERIC HICKS • MARVIN HICKS JOSHUA HILBURN • BRENT HINDS • STEVEN HINOTE • JAMES HOGG • SAMUEL HOGG • KIMBERLY HOLLINGHEAD • KIMBERLY HOPKINS DYLAN HOPPER • BRANDON HORN • HORACE HORN • WINSTON HORTON • CHRISTOPHER HOUK • NORMAN HOWARD • W.B. HOWARD CURNICE HOWELL • EDDIE HOWELL • LEON HOWELL • DIANE HOWELL • MICHAEL HUDSON • THOR HUEBNER • AMY HUGHES • ROBBY HUNT ROBERT IKNER • CARSE JACKSON • CECIL JACKSON • CHARLES JACKSON • SHERRY JACKSON • WILLIE JACKSON • EDWARD JAMES CHAD JENKINS • KIMBERLY JOHNS • DERRICK JOHNSON • DOROTHY JOHNSON • JOHN JOHNSON • KATHLEEN JOHNSON • TRACY JOHNSON WILLIAM JOHNSON • ANDREW JONES • BINION JONES • BRIAN JONES • BRYAN JONES • CECIL JONES • JACOB JONES • JAMES JONES • JILL JONES


KENNETH JONES • MARTHA JONES • RUSSELL JONES • THOMAS JONES • PAUL KARR • RUSSELL KEITH • JENNIFER KELLEY • JIM KELLEY RANDY KELLEY • RITA KELLEY • ANGELA KELLY • TOMMY KERVIN • THOMAS KIDD • DUSTIN KILCREASE • CARLTON KILLINGSWORTH GEORGE KILPATRICK • CATHY KING • KELLY KING • NORMA KING • TIMOTHY KING • WILLIAM KING • RONDA KIRKLAND • ROBERT KYLE MARCUS KYZAR • ASA LANDON • JOHN LANIER • DARRELL LATHAN • JONAS LATHAN • CONNIE LAWRENCE • KENNETH LEE • NIGEL LEE LINDA LINTON • ROBERT LITTLE • TINA LITTLE • JAMES LONG • GEORGE LOPER • JOHN LOPER • TERI LOWERY • SHEP LUCAS • ROBERT LYNCH BRETT MACK • JOHNNY MACK • MICHAEL MAJORS • GEORGE MANGUS • DILAN MANRING • MAYNARD MANNING • DEBRA MARCUM BILLY MARLER • JAMES MARLEY • DALE MARTIN • WILLIAM MARTIN • TIM MATEN • JOHN MATHESON • KIMBERLY MCBRIDE • SCOTTIE MCBRIDE PATRICK MCCALMAN • JESSIE MCCONICO • DAVID MCDUFFIE • MATTHEW MCINTYRE • BOWEN MCKATHAN • ROBERT MCLAURIN WILLIAM MCVAY • MICHAEL MERRILL • JUSTIN MESSICK • TIMOTHY MESSICK • TRESA MIDDLETON • DOYLE HEATH MILLS • DOYLE WAYNE MILLS JOHN MILSTEAD • KENNETH MITCHELL • MICHAEL MITCHELL • DEIDRA MONIGAN • BRUCE MONK • CHARLES MOORE • RONALD MOORE MARK MORGAN • CHRISTOPHER MOSELEY • EDDIE MOSELEY • MADISON MOSELEY • SCOTTY MOSELEY • ALFRED MOSLEY • ALEX MOUNT JOSHUA MULLEN • RODNEY MULLINS • HERMAN MURPHY • JAMES MURPHY • JAMES MURPHY II • KIM NAWLIN • ANGELA NELSON • JOHN NELSON TRACEY NELSON • MINNIE NICHOLS • JOHN NIXON • TOM NOBLE • DAVID NORRIS • JONATHAN NORRIS • HARRISON OBENHOFER JULIE O’CONNOR • STEVEN ODOM • ROBERT O’GUYNN • DENNIS O’NEAL • BARRY ORSO • RAYMOND PACE • CAROL PAGE • MICHAEL PAGE BRYAN PANSING • BRYAN PARKER • ANDREW PARNELL • WILSON PATRICK • GEORGE PATTERSON • GERALD PATTERSON • JUDSON PATTERSON DWIGHT PAUL • WILLIAM PAUL • DAVID PEARCE • JARROD PETTIE • BERT PETTIS • DANIEL PHILLIPS • LLOYD PHILLIPS • MARK PHILLIPS • SAM PHILLIPS MARCUS PIPPIN • DONNIE PITTS • MICHAEL POLLOCK • STANLEY POOLE • DAVID POWELL • JARED POWELL • JOHN POWELL • FRED PRINGLE JAMES PUGH • MARCUS PUGH • DAVID PURVIS • DEANDRA PYRON • ANDREW RABREN • JAMES RAMER • WILLIAM RAMEY • BRIAN REEVES JOEY REEVES • ROBERT REEVES • WILLIAM REID • JASON RENNER • K.D. REYNOLDS • GEORGE RHODES • MELISSA RHODES • DONALD RICHARDSON MICHAEL RICHARDSON • LANE RIDER • RUSSELL RIGDON • REGINALD RILEY • WESLEY ROBERTSON • JOHN ROBINSON • JEREMY ROGERS MORGAN ROGERS • WILLIAM ROGERS • MARK RUDD • BRENDA RUSSELL • AMY RYLAND • CORY RYLAND • BRIAN SALTER • RYAN SANDERS TRACY SANDERS • BRIAN SANDERSON • ASHLEY SASSER • DAVID SCOTT • CHRISTI SCRUGGS • LANIE SELLS • AUBREY SERPAS • WILLIAM SEXTON JOHN SHAW • CARL SHERROUSE KENNETH SHIVER • JOSEPH SHORT • JOSHUA SIGHTLER • JOYCE SIGHTLER • RUSSELL SIKES • MICKEY SIMMONS TRACY SIMPLER • COLTON SIMS • WILZY SIMS • JONATHAN SINGLETON • JUSTIN SLOAT • CEIL SMITH • CHRISTOPHER SMITH • DARRELL SMITH DONOVAN SMITH • DOROTHY SMITH • EMILY SMITH • FRED SMITH • GARY SMITH • JAMES SMITH • MARISA SMITH • MAXWELL SMITH MICHAEL SMITH • RAYMOND SMITH • RENEE SMITH • THOMAS SMITH • TOMMY SMITH • PHILLIP SPIVEY • KIMBERLY SPRINGER • SKIPPER SPURLIN NICHOLAS STEADHAM • JASON STEARNS • ANNA STEPHENS • KEITH STEPHENS • STEVEN STEPHENSON • MICHAEL STEWART • HARRY STINSON MARSHALL STOCKTON • ELIZABETH STOKES • EARL STRONG • CHARLES SULLIVAN • TIM SULLIVAN • JERROLD SYPHRIT • DAVID TARPLEY BENJAMIN TAYLOR • DANNY TAYLOR • JAMES C. TAYLOR • JAMES E. TAYLOR • PAUL TAYLOR • ROBERT TAYLOR • SIOBHAN TEEL • WILLIAM THIGPEN KIMBERLY THOMAS • TRAVIS THOMAS • BYRON THOMASSON • KYLE THOMASSON • CASEY THOMPSON • KENNETH THOMPSON • PATRICK THRASH WILLIAM THRASH • LESLIE THREADGILL • CHRISTOPHER TILLMAN • JAMIE TODD • ALBERT TURNER • AMY TURNER • BRENDA TURNER CAROLYN TURNER • JOHN TURVIN • JOHN TWITTY • MELISSA VEASEY • BENNIE VICK • RUSSELL VICKERY • JAMES WADE • JAMES WAITE MATHEW WALDEN • DAVID WALKER • HENRY WALLACE • JOHN WALLACE • VERONICA WALLACE • BAYNARD WARD • BRIAN WARD • JIM WARR JAMES WARRICK • MICHAEL WATSON • WILLIE WATSON • WILLIAM WEAVER • CHERYL WEEKS • VICKEY WEEKS • LESLIE WEEMS • JAMES WELCHER WALTER WEST • TIMOTHY WHATLEY • ROBERT WHITE • BETH WHITEHURST • ANTHONY WHITMAN • JOHN WIGGINS • LISA WIGGINS TABITHA WIGGINS • CALEB WILLIAMS • MILTON WILLIAMS • NANCY WILLIAMS • ROBERT WILLIAMS • ROY WILLIAMS • STEPHANIE WILLIAMS TAYLOR WILLIAMS • THOMAS WILLIAMS • WILLIE WILLIAMS • GERALD WILLIAMSON • LISA WILLIAMSON • MICHAEL WILLIAMSON • ANDREW WILSON BEVERLY WILSON • CRAIG WILSON • JOHNNY WILSON • TERRY WILSON • FLOYD WOOD • ELIZABETH WOODARD • WANDA WOODS SCOTT WRIGHT • DAVID WYATT • JUAN WYATT • GEORGE YOUNGE


Š 2016 PowerSouth Energy Cooperative Printed and bound in the United States of America. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from PowerSouth Energy Cooperative, 2027 East Three Notch Street, Andalusia, AL 36421 (www.powersouth.com), except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages in connection with a review for inclusion in a magazine, newspaper or broadcast. ISBN: 978-0-692-68258-6 Written and produced by Heidi Tyline King www.heiditking.com Cover and interior design by Charity Myers The Creative Pool Design, Tallahassee, FL www.thecreativepooldesign.com Printed by Penmor Lithographers Lewiston, ME www.penmor.com Printed in the U.S.A. All trademarks and servicemarks and registered trademarks and servicemarks used herein are the property of their respective owners. Photography credits: All images and artifacts appear courtesy of PowerSouth and its member systems, except those credited otherwise. PowerSouth expresses sincere appreciation to employees, retirees and member systems for use of their photos and memorabilia. A dedicated effort was made to include a fair and balanced history of PowerSouth’s first 75 years. Dozens of stakeholders and current and retired employees were interviewed in the hope that those not interviewed or quoted will feel well-represented.


In appreciation to PowerSouth employees across the years‌ you have made the cooperative what it is today.

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Table of Contents CHAPTER ONE “Electricity didn’t change a thing—it changed everything”.........................................14 CHAPTER TWO “A lot of hard work—that’s what made it”...........................................................................38 CHAPTER THREE “A small company just ready to burst out”........................................................................ 60 CHAPTER FOUR “Truly, we’ve come of age”........................................................................................................88 CHAPTER FIVE “A path for serving people”..................................................................................................... 114

7


It Changed Everything POWERSOUTH’S FIRST 75 YEARS


Long before there was PowerSouth, and even Alabama Electric Cooperative, there was a dam. And a lumber company...


12


circa 1910

Homer Gantt builds the first electric generating facility in Covington County, a wooden dam spanning the Conecuh River. Gantt, an engineer and tinkerer, grew tired of walking down to the dam to cut off the current, so he rigged a trip wire from the dam to his house. Every night at 10 p.m., he pulled the wire to stop the generator. The set-up worked well until a cow tripped over the “on and off” wire and blew the lights during an evening party at the Gantt house. A newspaper report noted the “mad scramble to locate the kerosene lamps.”

Title page: Early AEC equipment truck. Right: Gantt Dam prior to the 1929 flood.

13


1920

E.L. More, “a businessman and practical in every sense of the word,� organizes the River Falls Power Company. The company builds its first hydroelectric plant in Gantt at the site of a former gristmill and begins generating and selling power March 1, 1924. A second plant, named Point A Dam for the preferred site designated in an engineering study, comes online in 1926. By 1928, the company owns 208 miles of transmission line and serves 7,500 square miles.

Above: An undated newspaper clipping of rafts used to float timber to the Horseshoe Lumber Company in River Falls, Alabama. Right: A clipping from The Evergreen Courant about the River Falls Power Company. Opposite page: Gantt Dam is completely destroyed in the March 1929 flood.

14


1929

February — More sells River Falls Power Company to General Water Works and Electric Corporation one month before flooding washes out Gantt and Point A dams. The company immediately rebuilds and eventually renames the holding company “Alabama Utilities Company.”

15


The Alabama Water Service Company buys Alabama Utilities Company.

1935

16

May 11 — President Franklin D. Roosevelt creates the Rural Electrification Administration (REA). Morris Llewellyn Cooke, the “architect of rural electrification,” is the first administrator.


Left: Cooperative manager signatures from incorporation papers formalizing the creation of Alabama Electric Cooperative on June 24, 1941. Below: Early cooperative managers gather for a meeting in Jackson, Alabama.

1941

June 24 — Alabama Electric Cooperative’s Board of Trustees formalizes an agreement created three days prior to form an organization to build generating plants for their cooperatives. Held at the First National Bank building in Montgomery, Maury A. McWilliams is elected AEC’s first president.

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18


CHAPTER ONE

1941–1959

“Electricity didn’t change a thing—it changed everything” In 2016, folks don’t give much thought to electricity: just flip a switch to turn it on. But in the mid-1930s in Alabama and northwest Florida, the story was much different. “I was 10 or 11, and I distinctly remember the REA man coming out and drawing a circle with white chalk on the side of our new house where the meter base was going to go,” said Ed Short, President, CEO and General Manager of Covington EC and former AEC Board Chairman, who grew up in the 1940s in Covington County. “Even though we were going to have an electric range, my dad was very insistent that the kitchen also have a wood stove. He didn’t trust the electricity too much.”

The refreshment stand is the last stop for the 600 visitors who attended McWilliams Power Plant open house. This group includes Mr. and Mrs. Graham Dunn, Andalusia; AEC General Manager Basil Thompson and Mrs. Thompson; Mr. and Mrs. Willie Nichols, Luverne; Percy Coggins, Superintendent of the Luverne Utilities Department and Mrs. Coggins; Luverne Mayor Frank Sikes and Mrs. Sikes; and Mr. and Mrs. James Christakos and young son, Greg, of Andalusia.

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“No one can appreciate electricity unless they live with a man who worked with an electric company.” —Bonnie Allen, wife of AEC Lineman B.A. Allen “When I was a teenager, we moved from Atlanta back to the country near Dozier, Alabama, and we didn’t have electricity,” remembers Charles Lowman, retired AEC General Manager. “It was so dark out in the country—very dark. I had to study by oil lamps at night and draw water from the well with a rope and bucket. I guess it was 1937 when the line was built in my area, and we got our first electricity,” Lowman said. It wasn’t until 1952 when Herman Williams’ family farm was electrified. “We lived in Fruitdale at Dog River Swamp, and I studied by kerosene lamps—we couldn’t afford the fancy Aladdin lamps,” remembers Williams, retired Lowman Power Plant Manager. “When electricity finally came, it was a cord hanging down with a light bulb on it—that’s all you had.” Seth Hammett, PowerSouth Vice President of Business Development, remembers that his grandfather was there when they threw out the first poles to build the first power line. “He told me one day, ‘You know, I used to really envy my relatives that live in town [Andalusia] because they had electricity and we didn’t. As soon as we got electricity, they didn’t have anything we didn’t have, so the envy went away.’ Electricity didn’t change a thing—it changed everything.”

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Right: An AEC transmission crew performs the first “hot line” pole change-out. They are (on the pole) Charles Lawson, Richard J. Patterson and John D. (Dock) Hall; (on the ground) W.R. Patterson, W.H. Stephens and Mack Cottle.


Lineman a of e if L he T : ck a b sh Fla

d stayed 18 years in the

for AEC in 1941 an B.A. Allen began working

transmission

department.

s asked to stay and be ama Water Service, I wa ab Al d ine ta ob C AE n es article. “Whe ounted in a 1986 Powerlin rec he e,” tiv era op co t runs employed with the including a 46kV line tha es lin l ra ve se ild bu d I helpe I helped “During the early years, One of the larger lines io. Cl to d an ge did un Br o from Elba to Victoria int Freeport.” e that runs from Opp to lin kV 115 the s wa ct tru cons weekends. to be on call nights and Allen’s job required him sitting down, a pper, and, just as I was su ed ar ep pr d ha ie, nn om Brooms yelled “One night my wife, Bo to see who it was, Basc or do the to nt we I As . wife horn blew outside Opp. Needless to say, my in wn do e lin a s wa re use the for me to come on beca t on the way.” gave us a sandwich to ea ing poles in 1951. Dock Hall started climb

ing, and we C shared the same build AE d an on gt vin Co m the day,” he “Back then the crews fro se before leaving out for ou reh wa the in ing rn met together every mo ly with the crews d we worked very close an w, cre a on n me n ve said. “We had se from Covington.” ment was 9, remembers that equip 195 in C AE th wi d rte Grider Mock, who sta limited. e transformer , one pole truck and on ck tru om bo e on d ha ral hundred feet “While I was working, we pole [down a creek] seve a at flo to ve ha uld wo six people to set a truck,” he said. “We set. It would take four to be to ce pla ct rre co its before it was in e.” to set a pole on a hillsid pole. It was also difficult included the work by hand, which all did we d, rte sta t firs Adds Hall, “When I rk is what they pay hard work, but “hard wo s wa It .” les po the ing tamping or pack e going to pay me for y’re going to get. If they’r the at wh is rk wo rd ha urs.” me for, and hard as I can for eight ho as rk wo to ing go I’m eight hours of hard work,

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March 7 — AEC’s first annual meeting makes the organization legal. Twelve corporate members are accepted into membership.

1944

August 3 — Basil W. Thompson becomes AEC’s first general manager. September 1 — AEC acquires Alabama Water Service Company. October 24 — AEC leases office space for its headquarters on South Cotton Street in Andalusia.

Above: A check for $2,011,244.51 signed by AEC Board President Maury A. McWilliams to purchase the Alabama Water Service Company dated September 1, 1944. Right: An “Electric Fair” in Troy, Alabama, in the 1940s.

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1944

AT-A-GLANCE 41,277 MWH Total Sales

8,700 Kilowatts System Peak Demand

$130,055 Operating Revenue

$115,370 Expenses

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“We are of the people. We work for the people.”

—Basil Thompson, AEC General Manager, 1944-68

Above: Pen used by Harry Slattery, REA Administrator, to sign AEC’s first REA loan on June 6, 1946. Right: Customer postcard from 1945 to REA office in Andalusia requesting restoration of power. Opposite page: REA promotional poster, courtesy of Special Collections, USDA National Agricultural Library.

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Improving the Lives of Rural Americans In 1934, a house-to-house canvas of farm homes by the U.S. Bureau of Home Economics revealed that only 1.7 percent of Alabama farms had electric service. In Florida, the number increased to 23.2 percent, with most of those located in populated Dade County. In contrast, many of America’s cities had been electrified as early as the 1880s. The Lowmans, Shorts, Williams and other farming families lived miles from main roads, where power lines were strung and connected to central stations back in town. With no access to electricity, farm labor was backbreaking and dangerous—much as it had been in the previous century. No electric motors and grinders meant preparing feed and unloading crops by hand. Housewives cooked on sooty, scalding woodburning stoves. Outhouses stood behind every country house, and baths were taken in galvanized tubs. Churches didn’t hold night services because congregations couldn’t see the hymn books. In response to those conditions, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) in 1935. Roosevelt considered electricity a social need that could vastly improve the lives of rural Americans. 25


A Grassroots Movement Cooperatives are unique entities. Like unions, they sprang up in the 1800s during the Industrial Revolution, but rather than demanding rights and protections from employers, cooperative members sought independent, equal footing for their enterprises. “Anybody interested in a co-op needs to understand that it’s very much a grassroots movement,” explained Ted Jackson, PowerSouth’s General Counsel. “It’s amazing to me the creativity—the energy— that somebody was willing to devote to get himself and all his neighbors electricity. I don’t know of any other example outside the cooperative world where people took it upon themselves to get something done that seemed impossible.” Yet that’s exactly what happened June 24, 1941, when representatives from 11 organizations met at the First National Bank building in Montgomery to formally organize Alabama Electric Cooperative, Inc. (AEC). They were mostly farmers and small-town businessmen concerned with the inner workings of their hometown utility cooperative. They weren’t afraid to think outside the box, but they were also pragmatic. The idea of forming a cooperative of cooperatives involved risk. It would take hard work. If they failed, they’d forever be dependent on outside corporations to provide their electricity. And if they succeeded, they and their neighbors would be shareholders in an entity vital to the well-being of their communities. They would also have a say in how the business was run. Together, the group penned a simple mission: to secure wholesale power for members at the lowest possible cost. Maury A. McWilliams was elected President. McWilliams, a big man with a big personality, was a pharmacist and farmer who had benefited firsthand from rural electrification; his lakeside Prattville farm was served by Central Alabama EC, of which he was President. His experience led him to become an outspoken supporter of rural electrification, and because he “met people well,” he had the ability to wrangle the individual systems into a unified cooperative.

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1951

August 10 — After five-and-a-half years, the Alabama Department of Finance approves AEC’s REA loan, clearing the way for AEC to construct its first steam electric generation facilities.

NEED NEW PHOTO HERE

Installing a meter on a rural house in the AEC service area, 1956.

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1955

February: Two generating units at the Maury A. McWilliams Steam Plant come on line, the first to be constructed by AEC.

“The war came on” McWilliams had little more than seven months under his belt as AEC President when World War II intervened. Timber, steel, aluminum, wire—virtually anything needed to build a power plant was restricted by the War Production Board. Even installation for homes that were wired and waiting to be energized was postponed until the war ended. “For me, a 10-year-old boy with several cousins in town who had lights, it seemed like a lifetime waiting for our service connect,” said Robert D. Thompson, retired Pea River EC General Manager. “In fact, the power line stood in our front yard for three years during World War II before South Alabama EC could get the required transformer to give us service.” With war waging, there wasn’t much for AEC’s members to do but wait. But McWilliams wasn’t the waiting type. He had gotten wind in early 1943 that the Alabama Water Service Company in Andalusia needed to divest of its electric and water properties to comply with newly imposed regulations of electric utilities set forth by the 1935 Public Utility Holding Company Act. On September 1, 1944, with approval and funding from REA, AEC purchased the Alabama Water Service Company (AWSC) and became a fully operational generation and transmission (G&T) cooperative.

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Below top: “Save Your Cans� World War II poster, courtesy of Salvage Division, U.S. War Production Board. Below bottom: Men loading pieces of an airplane for a scrap metal drive during World War II in Dothan; circa 1945. Courtesy of Alabama Department of Archives and History. Right: June 1947 member letter to Covington EC requesting electric service.

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anager, 1944–1968 M C E A n: so p m ho T . W Basil AEC in 1944 after Basil Thompson came to

ama EC.

managing Central Alab

made up for with nagement expertise he ma in d ke lac ve ha y ma “What he ompson’s mental and and courage. Much of Th n tio na mi ter de rk, wo just to keep hard devoted to the struggle re we s ‘60 the g rin du physical energies r Pioneers book. les Lowman, in his Powe ar Ch r, so es cc su his id AEC alive,” sa said. truct a system,” Lowman ns co to ing try e ar u yo “It was a good fit when evident. rural electrification was Thompson’s passion for ed and ion program. He had liv at ific ctr ele al rur the in “He strongly believed attville, so le town just out from Pr litt a , ea ar ley gs lin Bil grown up in the rthwhile cause,” ht that it was a real, wo ug tho d an d ste ere int ment. he was very Director of Fuels Procure d ire ret , on ps om Th y else, and it remembers his son, Tomm ation about something ers nv co a in him t ge “He lived it. You could to rural electrification. would come back around He loved to go out He was a hands-on man. rk. wo ld fie the ed lov o “Dad als bstation was pretty to es being built. And a su lin the e se d an ld fie in the t loved them. On a substation, but he jus in ty au be ch mu e se him…I never did were working, and someplace where they tem sys the in t ou go ’d weekends, he he’d take me with him.” ompson as the 19 years, remembers Th for ry ta cre se ’s on ps om Edwyna Ivey, Th an. perfect Southern gentlem battles some trying times, from gh ou thr C AE d lea to ction of “He worked so hard with the REA, the constru s ing ar he n loa to r we with Alabama Po ilding.” ction of our first office bu tru ns co the d an nt Pla McWilliams that lusia Star-News reported da An the 8, 196 in d ire When Thompson ret of this man’s rural sections because in ing rn bu e ar les nd ca “many electric irement.” earned an honorable ret s ha He . ce rvi se g lon 24 years of

“I know there are literally thousands of people in Alabama who are living better tonight because of the hard work and dedicated efforts of this man.”

— John Hill, Former Covington Electric Cooperative General Manager

Left: At the McWilliams Substation (from left): Ben Martin, Basil Thompson, Maury A. McWilliams, Tracy Wilder and J.L.B. Green.

31


The Maury A. McWilliams Power Plant, 1955. Opposite page: Billboard advertisement for the McWilliams Power Plant.

32


A Working Monument…Maury A. McWilliams Steam Plant In February 1955, AEC’s first steam electric generation plant began produc ing much-needed electricity with two units designed to burn either coal or natural gas. Five years later, Unit 3, a 22-megawatt generating unit, was added. “Back then, McWilliams was all we had,” said former Central Generation Plant Supervisor John Shreve. “When I began work for AEC in 1956, Units 1 and 2 provided the energy needs for AEC’s entire system. Adding Unit 3 was a big step for AEC, as demands on the system continu ed to increase.” The McWilliams Plant was named for longtime AEC President Maury

A. McWilliams.

“He was an outspoken supporter of REA, and he had some friends in high places, which was helpful for the co-op at that time,” said Tommy Thompson, retired Director of Fuels Procurement. Besides serving locally and regionally with AEC, McWilliams eventually became Presid ent of the Alabama Rural Electric Association and a trustee for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

33


34


1957

February 2 — The new AEC Headquarters opens at its present location, sharing office space with Covington EC. More than 1,200 visitors tour the facility during open house.

In 1944, AEC leased a building on South Cotton Street in Andalusia. The site remained AEC Headquarters until 1956.

Becoming AEC The Alabama Water Service acquisition established AEC as a legitimate G&T—but just barely. The cooperative gained a run-down portfolio of three small hydro plants located at Point A, Gantt and Elba, and three diesel generating plants in Brundidge, Frisco City and Troy. The patchedtogether transmission facilities consisted of 177 miles of 44kV lines, 40 miles of 13.2kV lines and 12.6 miles of 6.9kV lines. Ninety miles of the 44kV lines constructed before 1929 used untreated cypress poles. Lines were unshielded, and the protective scheme relied on high-voltage fuses rather than oil circuit-breakers to sectionalize faults. Outages were common. Consequently, it was no surprise that a 1946 assessment found the system “in poor condition with inadequate facilities to properly carry its present load, to say nothing of its ability to carry the very much larger expected future loads.” 35


WHAT’S IN THE CAPSULE? During groundbreaking ceremonies December 20, 1957, at the Maury A. McWilliams Steam Plant, the Board placed a metal container in the wall of the new plant building with instructions the container be opened in 100 years. The time capsule includes: • A history of AEC. • Complete proceedings of groundbreaking ceremonies in tape recordings, photographs, film and manuscripts. • Data on the area served by AEC at the time. • Predictions from leading public officials and experts in a variety of fields about growth they anticipated in the coming 100 years. The 1957 AEC Board adopted a resolution directing the 2057 Board of Trustees to open the time capsule as “near to the date of December 20, 2057, as possible.”

36

Manager Basil Thompson oversaw the creation of a time capsule in 1957 to mark the construction of the McWilliams Steam Plant.


AEC linemen working on the early transmission system.

AEC employees set to work rehabilitating existing plants, rebuilding all 46kV lines and completing a loop around the service area. “It was a very dilapidated system when AEC bought it, and through the years the service kept getting better and more reliable as we started building and adding more lines,” remembers Lowman. “For a few years, every time we’d have a system outage, the whole system would go down. There were no checks… nothing to really find out where the outage was. So you had to just drive and visit different substations to find out what was wrong. If it was a line problem, you’d have to go out and walk the line and find out where the line went down.” To complement system repairs, additional power was needed to supply member cooperatives. AEC eventually settled on the idea of building two 11,500 kVa steam electric generating units at Gantt. In February 1955, both units went on line at the Maury A. McWilliams Steam Plant, so named for Alabama’s “Mr. Co-op,” AEC’s long-time Board President who led the fight for its construction.

37


Early AEC linemen framing poles and digging holes with an A-frame truck.

Making Life Better When electricity was introduced in the early 1900s, part of a utility’s job was to allay fears and promote its safety and usefulness. Skeptics labeled electricity as the “new Jezebel,” its incandescent glow in the night “seducing young men into the arms of immorality.” As for health, “The untapped electrical fluid leaking from these outlets and wire…may cause serious bodily damage and—with prolonged exposure—possibly death.” By 1951, however, doubters had turned into believers. 38


1959

AEC’s first 115kV line is energized. The line connects the Maury A. McWilliams Power Plant at Gantt, Alabama, to Brundidge, Alabama, where a 115/46kV stepdown substation is constructed. These new high-voltage lines call for a 115kV transmission substation at Maury A. McWilliams Power Plant. October — The 22-megawatt third generating unit at the Maury A. McWilliams Power Plant is brought on line.

“When we started getting electricity from the co-op in 1943, we had a drop cord in each room, and we were required to install one wall plug in the dining room so we could plug in a refrigerator,” said Charles A. Mallory, former Covington EC Trustee. “The flat rate was $1 per month for 10 kilowatt-hours of electricity. But the trouble with us farmers was that we had to pay the $1 whether we used the 10 kilowatt-hours or not. It wasn’t long, though, before people started adding appliances, electric motors and other things as we found out how we could live so much better with electricity,” Mallory said. The more electricity the customers used, the more AEC needed to generate or purchase. Even as AEC was in the middle of constructing its first two steam units, the cooperative submitted an REA loan request to fund the 22.5-megawatt unit and 100 miles of additional transmission line. For approval, AEC was required to secure power supply contracts with member cooperatives and municipal members for the next 35 years. As AEC grew, so too did the legal and technical complexities of operating the cooperative. Still, AEC stayed true to its original goal. As Maury A. McWilliams stated in the 1959 Annual Report, “The real measure of the success of Alabama Electric Cooperative will be found in whether it has rendered a service to you, the people, over the years…whether it has carried out its operations with you, the people, in mind…whether our life, and the life of those who shall come after us will be better because of Alabama Electric Cooperative.” 39


THE VOICE OF THE MEMBER SYSTEMS

APRIL 22, 1937

Baldwin Electric Membership Corporation 71,091

Average consumers served

4,434 Miles of line

“In all these years, our purpose has not changed. It was simple then, and it is simple today. How we do it is not simple, but the end result is still the same. We stay member-focused and never forget they are our owners. That’s something we remind ourselves of every day: We are in the member service business.” —Karen Moore, CEO

NOVEMBER 1938

Central Alabama Electric Cooperative 42,223 Average consumers served

AUGUST 2, 1940

Prattville, Alabama

5,905 Miles of line

“PowerSouth’s first General Manager, Basil Thompson, came from Central Alabama EC. His strong leadership and the competent managers that followed him have been innovators unafraid to try something new or speak out on behalf of their co-op. Over the years, they have remained focused on providing reliable, affordable electricity to the members. It’s an incredible story.” —Tom Stackhouse, President and CEO

Choctawhatchee Electric Cooperative

40

Summerdale, Alabama

47,291

Average consumers served

DeFuniak Springs, Florida

4,017 Miles of line

“CHELCO serves a diverse membership. Over the years, as the Gulf Coast has become a thriving tourist destination, we have experienced tremendous growth. In our northern service territory, our members tend to be long-term residents that are knowledgeable and supportive of the cooperative model. Farther south, near the beaches, our members are typically new to the area and may not understand the difference between co-ops and IOUs. This is challenging but also an opportunity to demonstrate what we can do.” —Stephen T. (Steve) Rhodes, CEO

tive Your Touchstone Energy Coopera ®


SEPTEMBER 22, 1939

MARCH 2, 1936

Clarke-Washington Electric Membership Corporation 19,879

Average consumers served

Miles of line

“We were the first organized cooperative in Alabama, incorporating on March 2, 1936, less than a year after REA was formed. Think about that. In the early 1900s, people living in town had lights, but if you lived in the rural areas of Washington and Clarke counties, there was nothing. You worked hard, and you wanted your children to be educated. But without lights, your standard of living was limited. Establishing an electric co-op leveled the playing field. It’s something that we celebrate.” —Stan Wilson, CEO and General Manager

Coosa Valley Electric Cooperative 16,545

Average consumers served

®

Talladega, Alabama

2,492 Miles of line

“At Coosa Valley EC, we didn’t wait on our service territory to diversify—we decided to do it on our own. We now have four industrial parks to attract commercial clients to our area and balance our member mix. Initiative has paid off; it has been a good business for us.” —Leland M. Fuller, General Manager

Covington Electric Cooperative AUGUST 2, 1944

4,125

Jackson, Alabama

22,692 Average consumers served

Andalusia, Alabama

2,739 Miles of line

“Covington EC’s contributions to the community have been significant. We have a longstanding commitment to community involvement, and we do a lot of work with the schools in our service area. Over the years, our board has also been very willing to support economic development in each county we serve. All these efforts are intended to enhance the quality of life for our members.” —Charles E. (Ed) Short, President, CEO and General Manager

41


42


CHAPTER TWO

1960–1979

“A lot of hard work—that’s what made it” When the old-timers talk about AEC, they talk about days when the cooperative’s survival depended on counting washers and using pencils to the nub. They remember laying miles of line by hand—no motorized diggers, no bucket trucks. Back then, the cooperative ran on the adrenaline of a good idea: bringing electricity to rural Alabama and Florida. Yet by the 1960s, reality had set in: it took a lot more than talk to make an idea come to life.

(From left): AEC General Manager Basil Thompson, AEC Legal Counsel Jesse Williams, Board Chairman Maury A. McWilliams, Brown Boveri Corporation Service Engineer Walter Hoschstrasser, Mutual Boiler and Machinery Insurance Company Inspector D.E. Sibert, and McWilliams Power Plant Superintendent D.E. Smithson inspect the 7,500 kW McWilliams Plant turbine.

43


1960

November 19 — Fourteen distribution cooperatives sign new wholesale power agreements with AEC.

AEC Board Chairman Maury A. McWilliams nurtured AEC through its infancy. In his 1959 address to members, McWilliams painted a picture of growth that would be frustrating and trying. An economic downturn lingered across the country, and cooperatives were not immune. He foresaw legislative roadblocks, financial constraints and continued opposition by investor-owned utilities. Against those challenges, he prodded the cooperative to plan diligently and fight courageously. “Alabama Electric has struggled for its existence through its entire 21 years,” said McWilliams. “Yet I feel sure that since its objectives are right and honorable, just and proper, it will succeed.”

McWilliams, Thompson and others open first bids for the McWilliams Power Plant expansion, 1957.

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“As a people-centered organization with a heart, Alabama Electric pledges to you that it will not forget this in the days ahead. The benefits which it is able to render will always be for you, the people.” —Maury A. McWilliams, AEC Board Chairman 1944-68

Tombigbee Power Plant Unit 1.

Pulling Together Through Adversity AEC scored a victory in March 1963 with the completion of the Brundidge-to-Walter F. George 115kV line that connected the cooperative to the Southeastern Power Administration’s (SEPA) hydroelectric energy and capacity. A second gain occurred in 1966 when the cooperative began construction on Unit 1 at the 75-megawatt Tombigbee Power Plant. However, work toward expansion did little to improve system reliability at the time. As the need for electricity increased, AEC needed funds to improve and expand the overloaded and inadequate transmission infrastructure. “Everybody was demanding more and more electricity, and AEC was finding it difficult to keep its members satisfied,” said Ray Jeffcoat, retired Chairman of Opp and Micolas Mills and former AEC Board Chairman. “Furthermore, the service was unreliable at times. At our mills, for example, the power would go off 10 or 12 times a week during the lightning season. And every time the power went off we had to shut down every machine in the plants and then bring them back on one at a time. It was a disruptive and costly process. That’s the main reason why I wanted on the AEC Board—to try and solve the reliability problem.”

45


1962

AT-A-GLANCE 316,184 MWH Total Sales

1962

The 115kV Brundidge-to-Walter F. George transmission line is completed. Forty-eight miles long, this high-voltage, high-capacity line obtains power from the George Dam in Ft. Gaines, Georgia, on the Chattahoochee River.

77,590 Kilowatts System Peak Demand

$2,610,578 Operating Revenue

$2,403,398 Expenses

46

The Brundidge substation, completed in 1962.


1965

November 19 — Covington EC terminates its operating and maintenance agreement, officially separating the cooperative’s day-to-day operations from AEC.

The capacity and reliability issues were byproducts of the real problem: money—or lack of it. By 1967, REA leaders, concerned about the many problems at AEC, threatened to close the cooperative. REA Administrator Norman Clapp also questioned the REA loan for a third unit at McWilliams that was tied up in court. He said its approval rested upon certain basic assumptions such as member support and a functioning system—assumptions that did not seem to be true. The REA had no “magic solution” to AEC’s dilemma, Clapp said, adding, “AEC is in real trouble and is in a fight for its life.” McWilliams and Thompson, veterans of the cooperative world, understood that survival depended on taking a unified stand. They urged the member cooperatives to pull together. Unfortunately, McWilliams didn’t get to see the outcome of his efforts. He died unexpectedly in July 1966. AEC’s luck changed December 16, 1968, when a six-year court battle with Alabama Power Company ended, and AEC received approval to use the REA loan to build a new steam plant. “My predecessor, Jesse Williams, hopped on a plane from Montgomery to Washington and went and got that check from REA,” said Ted Jackson, PowerSouth’s General Counsel. “He took a lot of heat from the Alabama Supreme Court for doing that, but if he hadn’t, AEC would have folded right then because they ran out of money and couldn’t pay their employees. The cooperative was repeatedly in that situation where they didn’t know whether they were going to be open the next month because the suit strung out for so long.” 47


1968

November 15 — Wesley Jackson becomes AEC General Manager when Basil Thompson retires.

er to AEC

g Ord Wesley Jackson: Bringin

l Manager when longtime Genera 8 196 in C AE to me ca Wesley Jackson stribution d worked at TVA as a Di ha n so ck Ja d. ire ret on Basil Thomps time in putting his years, and he wasted no 15 for r ge na Ma e tiv Coopera eratives to work at AEC. deep knowledge of coop office policies was to establish written did he s ng thi st ge big “One of the cretary. “He was a Ivey, retired Executive Se na wy Ed id sa s,” ure ed e.’” and proc of the word ‘perseveranc ing an me the me ht ug ta really nice man who ittees, and nizing boards and comm ga or in e nc rie pe ex of “He had a lot ired AEC General id Charles Lowman, ret sa ,” him th wi t tha t gh he brou Manager. become 1968-70, when he left to m fro ted las C AE at e Jackson’s tim attanooga. Marketing at TVA in Ch tor ibu str Di of ief Ch nt Assista

48

Wesley Jackson, AEC’s second general manager.


1969

March 2 — The steam-powered Tombigbee Power Plant begins generating electricity on the Tombigbee River near Leroy, Alabama. The 75-megawatt unit brings AEC’s total generating capacity to 140 megawatts. The plant is later renamed after longtime AEC General Manager Charles R. Lowman.

A New Era in Leadership After the court case settled, Thompson retired. The AEC Board tapped Plant Engineer Charles Lowman as Acting Manager but moved fast to permanently replace Thompson. Wesley Jackson became the new General Manager on November 15, 1968. Jackson, a TVA man who had worked as a distribution cooperative manager, was well-versed in management and experienced in dealing with REA and Alabama Power. Jackson’s tenure was short-lived. After implementing several management improvements, he returned to TVA in 1970. Once again, the AEC Board looked to Charles Lowman for leadership, only this time they made him General Manager. Lowman was an example of how, throughout AEC’s history, the right leaders have surfaced at the right time. He had grown up with the cooperative, working for a short time in 1948 as a lineman’s helper before accepting a full-time engineer position in 1950. He was smart, wellliked and quiet. He gave his employees room to work. “Mr. Lowman was the nicest person you’ll ever meet,” said A.G. Palmore, retired Vice President, Finance and Accounting. “He was of very high character, and he had the respect of everybody. He gave us carte blanche to do what we needed to do. And he was an engineer. He was exact on everything he did, just so exact. He built the plants—he knew how to do that.” 49


1970

April — Charles Lowman is named AEC General Manager when Jackson resigns. May — The AEC Board restructures, adding member system managers as trustees.

“Everything was kept running off the scrap pile” As Lowman began working to stabilize the entire system in 1971, the member systems agreed to pay uniform rates by pooling all power supply expenses—a significant moment in AEC’s history and a monumental step toward stability. Four municipal and two industrial members joined the existing 13 distribution cooperatives in 1974. About the same time, former REA Administrator Richard Richter recommended in a letter that all managers of distribution member systems be placed on the AEC Board. The Board amended the bylaws in May 1970 to add managers of the cooperatives, municipal and industrial members. “Putting these managers on the Board was one of the wisest things we ever did,” said Ray Jeffcoat, retired Chairman of Opp and Micolas Mills and former AEC Board Chairman. “Having them on the Board gave AEC a lot of expertise that we could not afford to pay for but desperately needed.”

50

In 1971, AEC sought to diversify fuel sources by pursuing an ownership interest in Alabama Power’s Farley Nuclear Plant. While litigation lasted the rest of the decade, the cooperative found time to implement system improvements, complete an extensive headquarters renovation in 1977 and finish construction on two 210-megawatt units at the Tombigbee Plant in 1978 and 1979. By the end of the 1970s, AEC had expanded enough to provide reliable service to its members.


Opposite page: Gold shovel used for groundbreaking ceremonies. Above: October 1975 groundbreaking ceremony for the Tombigbee Power Plant expansion. (From left): James Vann, David Hamil, Charles Lowman, Alabama Gov. George Wallace, Tommy Strother, Tom Turner and Chalmers Bryant.

51


1971

All 13 cooperative members sign pooling contracts with AEC to establish the pooling plan. Four years later, on June 1, 1975, the industrial and municipal members join in full power pooling.

Still, money continued to be tight, in part because of wholesale power rate increases. The cooperative had to make do with odds-and-ends equipment and parts to patch up the already cobbled-together system.

52

“Everything was kept running off the scrap pile,” said Jim Sloan, retired Lowman Power Plant Operations Manager. “If something broke, you went out to the scrap pile and hunted something to fix it.” Lowman set a frugal example for his employees, but it was Robert J. Holley who made ends meet. Holley was one of AEC’s first employees, hired in 1945 as a bookkeeper to oversee bringing the McWilliams Power Plant on line. More than anyone, he knew the company was broke, so he did the only thing he knew to keep AEC going: he counted paper clips, issued half-used pencils from his desk drawer and required that adding machine paper be used on both sides. Yes, all those stories about Mr. Holley are true. “Robert was pretty tight,” said Lowman. “He used an adding machine for years. When computers came, he didn’t want one.” “Early on, we didn’t have copy machines,” remembers Barbara Whitehead, retired Lowman Power Plant Secretary. “We had typewriters and used carbon paper. Every afternoon, Mr. Holley would go around and check the wastebaskets to see if we were wasting too much paper from making mistakes typing. One of the girls told me that if she made more than a mistake or two during the day, she’d get so worried that she’d just cram her extra ‘mistakes’ into her purse, take them home and throw them away.”


Holley retired in 1978 as Manager of Financial Services. “Mr. Holley brought this co-op a long way,” said Palmore. “Money-wise back in those days, it was tight. And everybody had to work together for AEC to survive.” “Mr. Holley was very strict but very sweet—very old-school,” said Mattie Freeney, retired Engineering Analyst. “When you got supplies you had to almost give a drop of blood. But you know, I probably didn’t have a dollar from pay day to pay day, and sometimes he would share his lunch with me. He would bring me cookies. Everybody knew about Mr. Holley’s cookies—his wife was the best cookie baker.”

Mrs. Holley’s cookie recipe/recipe card

Above: Robert J. Holley and his wife, Bernice, with A.G. Palmore. Robert J. Holley often brought in goodies made by his wife to share at work.

53


1973

54

Cooperative leaders push for new legislation; President Nixon answers their concerns by signing a bill into law May 11, 1973, that restores the rural electric loan program.


“It started from a little of nothing” Holley’s story exemplifies an ongoing theme in AEC’s history: how employees pull together in hard times for the sake of the cooperative. They persevered through the 1970s oil embargo, double-digit inflation and soaring fuel costs. “When I came in 1956, I worked nine hours a day, and I started off at 90 cents an hour,” said Earl McBryde, retired Administrative Services Manager. “I worked in the warehouse, and every morning those line crew boys from Covington would come in. They were real men. I’d watch them wrestle with one another in the morning…they had a lot of fun. But when they left out they got paid to get to the job, and they worked on that job until their quitting time, and then they had to get back on their own time—they didn’t get paid for traveling back.”

The Tombigbee Power Plant circa 1973.

55


1973

Controls are installed to address stack emissions at AEC’s two existing steam power plants. The improvements drastically reduce fly ash emissions.

“I worked for AEC for 19 years and never took one day of sick leave,” Jim Sloan said. “If I took a day, then another fellow was going to have to work his off-day. And we thought about each other like that. So we just worked. It wasn’t that I wasn’t ever sick, but it was that I was able to work and do the job, so somebody else wouldn’t have to give up his off-day.” “AEC—it started from a little of nothing,” said Henry Ott, retired Lowman Power Plant Manager. “They didn’t have any equipment. They didn’t have anything over there to work with. Nothing. People sat on the ground to eat their lunches—they didn’t have anywhere else to sit. AEC went from nothing into a major company—a good company, but it took a lot of hard work. That’s what made it, I can assure you. I saw it happen.”

Above: Phil Bates (left) and Claude Frazier in the Lowman Power Plant control room.

56

Right: John Smith in the first Energy Control Center, located in the dispatch station at the McWilliams Power Plant.


1974

AT-A-GLANCE 915,344 MWH Total Sales

217.8 MW System Peak Demand

$20,169,652 Revenue

$21,166,155 Expenses

57


1977

The renovated Headquarters is completed. The expansion adds 20,000 square feet of floor space with a new Board Room, Energy Control Center and additional offices.

Left: John Toole and Faye Cremer. Below: The original Headquarters office building on Highway 29, which was shared by Covington EC and AEC.

Alabama Electric Cooperative Headquarters building, 1977.

58


Construction of Tombigbee Power Plant Unit 3.

1979

October 24 — AEC completes Unit 2 at the Tombigbee Power Plant. Unit 3 goes on line in 1980. When the plant is dedicated October 24, REA Administrator David Hamil praises AEC for being one of the few power supply cooperatives in the country to complete new generation units “on time and within the budget.”

59


(a little bit of)

ˆ

All Work and No Play

breaks the ir hard work, but nothing the for n ow kn e ar es ye AEC emplo ind like a few laughs. monotony of the daily gr or those with en now), new employees ev s ap rh pe d (an y da which Back in the nicknames, the origins of rn ea to ely lik re we bit a particular ha Ginzelle, Handsome There’s Paranoid Floyd, . es jok ide ins m fro me ca me a few. y, Cholly and Bone, to na gm Py o, tto Ta a, bb Bu Harold, culture. Some of the a part of the AEC work en be o als ve ha ks an Pr Howard, retired rdous, like the time John za ha ht rig wn do re we ting in jokes n, found an employee sit tio uc od Pr r we Po of nt Vice Preside -flops on top of a Hawaiian shirt and flip his lawn chair dressed in es, they’d grease er—grilling out. Other tim tow ng oli co an wm Lo ver was the ough vents so that whoe thr e ok sm w blo or les door hand y had burned it uipment would think the working on a piece of eq up. “It was all good wer Plant Manager, said, Po an wm Lo d ire ret t, As Henry Ot worked to death.” aven knows we were all camaraderie because he y conscious. de everyone more safet ma s ure ed oc pr y fet sa n in Thankfully, the evolutio se at work! the try Of course: don’t

60

AEC employees also mixed fun with philanthropic efforts. Here, Ray Clausen participates in a dunking booth fund raiser.

“Charlie Hunt, one of the original operators who started the plant, was known as the ‘Turbine Room Chef.’ He would bring hamburger and potatoes wrapped in foil, and he knew just what part of the turbine to sit it on so that it would be ready to eat by lunch. I’d fix myself a cheese sandwich and put it in the coal drying oven when I got to work, and by noon that cheese would be melted just perfect.”

“I would make sandwiches out of leather gasket material because it looked just like bologna. I’d switch it out in someone’s lunch box, and they’d never know the difference until they bit into it! Another thing, we’d put oil underneath somebody’s car three or four days in a row and the first thing you know during lunch, they’d be out there looking at that oil.”

Barbara Whitehead Retired Lowman Power Plant Secretary

Henry Ott Retired Lowman Power Plant Manager


“One time they gave out vests for safety prizes. Well, jokingly, I complained. Why in the world couldn’t they give us a jacket? And apparently I went on and on. So one day I came in and there was my vest…with yellow sleeves. They had cut the sleeves out of an old rain jacket and sewed it into the vest. I still have it.”

Jim Sloan

Retired Lowman Power Plant Operations Manager

“Somebody killed a snake, and I laid it up under a newspaper with about two inches of the tail hanging out. When my operator, Paul Richardson, sat down to eat his lunch, he saw that little bit of tail and threw his chair, table, everything—all the way across the room! Another time, we all converged on Chuck Reeves, another operator who’s kind of scrawny, and taped him up real quick with duct tape.”

“Bill Garris was running conduit to the yard electrical building. At the end it needed a 90-degree angle to run into the building. It was a hot day, and Bill hated to run conduit. He cut and threaded it, but it was an inch too long. He got mad and started stomping on the pipe and jumping up and down on it. Well, the pipe bent. “‘Put that thing in the building now,’ he told me. This time around, the conduit fit because it was bent. I asked him what he did to make it fit and he laughed. “‘It’s a Leroy Special,’” he said.

Stevie Anderson

McIntosh Plant Coordinator

Margaret Marks

Retired Lowman Power Plant Operating Technician

Left: Henry Ott. Right: Stevie Anderson (left) and Bill Garris.

61


THE VOICE OF THE MEMBER SYSTEMS

AUGUST 11, 1938

Dixie Electric Cooperative 22,616

Average consumers served

Montgomery, Alabama

2,626 Miles of line

“We started out very rural, but as Montgomery has grown into our service territory, we now have urban and suburban areas as well. At first, some developers questioned our ability as an energy provider. They’d say, ‘Are you sure, as a small cooperative, that you can handle what we’re about to do?’ But after a couple of projects, they realized how much faster we can move and respond to their needs. We add a personal touch, and we can work with customers who want something unique or that’s a little different than the cookie cutter offerings.” —Gary Harrison, President/CEO

MARCH 10, 1939

Escambia River Electric Cooperative

62

10,373 Average consumers served

1,611

Jay, Florida

Miles of line

“We’ve gone from dirt roads and rural countryside to busy highways and active communities. Time and technology are on our side. We had 88 members originally believe in our vision of safe, reliable and affordable electricity in rural Florida. I bet they would be surprised and delighted at how EREC has transformed that original mission into a way to make a difference in people’s lives for the better.” —Clay Campbell, General Manager


DECEMBER 27, 1937

AUGUST 15, 1938

OCTOBER 28, 1941

Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative 20,177

Average consumers served

Wewahitchka, Florida

2,593 Miles of line

“I look at PowerSouth a little different than some. Typically, a big corporation owns the smaller subsidiaries, but here all the little co-ops own PowerSouth. No longer does each individual cooperative look out only for its own interests, but instead, what might be beneficial to our member systems. But there has been a change in perspective. Now, what’s good for one may be good for all if we stick together. There’s more of a camaraderie. The true strength of PowerSouth is the strength of its 20 members working together.” —Michael White, General Manager

Pea River Electric Cooperative 18,576

Average consumers served

Ozark, Alabama

3,068 Miles of line

“It’s great to be part of a G&T. I would not want to be out on the market today looking for energy and dealing with all the related issues. We have a seat at the table where the decisions are made. It is a relationship that has worked out really good for us.” —Randy Brannon, General Manager

Pioneer Electric Cooperative 12,843

Average consumers served

Greenville, Alabama

2,744 Miles of line

“Pioneer serves nearly 13,000 members in the Black Belt region, some of the poorest communities in Alabama. Still, we are proud to say that we provide the same service as our neighbors in larger cities. Being a part of PowerSouth helps us meet the needs of our customers in ways we couldn’t on our own.” —Terry C. Moseley, Executive Vice President and General Manager 63


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CHAPTER THREE

1980-1989

“A small company ju st ready to bu rst out” In 1978, A.G. Palmore was 20 years in at his accounting job with a national firm when he got a call from a friend about a job at AEC. “‘You don’t know what you’re missing in this industry,’ he told me,” said Palmore. “He wouldn’t let up, so I agreed to interview with Mr. Lowman. I liked what I saw. “When I got the job, it felt like this is where I was supposed to be. There was a lot of opportunity. They had no accounting system. They had no budgeting system. They had no data processing. It was a small cooperative just ready to burst out,” he said.

Ralph Deason, retired Western District Supervisor.

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“At Alabama Electric Cooperative we pay constant attention to the future and what it promises for those we serve. We look to the future to plan, predict and project energy usage for our member-systems’ generation needs.”

-H.W. Norris, AEC Board Chairman, 1986-89

Left: Dianne Curry and Abb Riley.

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Opposite page: David Tarpley.


“We just did what we had to do…to survive” The first challenge of the 1980s caught everyone by surprise. Throughout its history, AEC stayed the course by following a simple supply-and-demand business model. As electricity usage climbed predictably year after year, a utility needed only to react by forecasting when a certain amount of supply would be needed, then plan for additional generation. It had been an era of construction in the industry, when people wanted electricity, and AEC did everything possible to get it there. “We must move forward at a fast pace…with requirements on our system increasing at a rate of 8, 9 or 10 percent per year,” said Ray Jeffcoat, retired Chairman of Opp and Micolas Mills and former AEC Board Chairman. Speaking for the AEC Board, he advocated for a far-reaching expansion program to enable AEC to keep up with the needs of its consumers. Building the Tombigbee Plant and pursuing an interest in nuclear power in the late 1970s were part of that plan.

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Short-term interest rates range from 15.5% to 17.75%.

1980

October — AEC energizes its first 230kV transmission line.

By 1980, however, previous load forecasting techniques no longer worked. Fuel rates skyrocketed as consumers scrambled to conserve energy. This, in turn, contributed to a decline in AEC’s load growth, which dropped 3 to 5 percent instead of increasing 8 to 10 percent. John Hill, retired General Manager of Covington EC and former AEC Board Chairman, pleaded with AEC employees to cut costs where possible. “I recall the biblical admonition to shun even the appearance of evil,” he said. “I think it is important that the member systems—and the public—know and realize that AEC is operating at the lowest possible cost, and that no unnecessary or wasteful expenditures of any kind are being made.”

Ricky Cook (left) and James “Bo” Welcher. Opposite page: AEC linemen repairing transmission lines.

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69


1981

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For the first time, newly installed computerized metering delivering daily data assists in planning for future generation and transmission.


1982

When the Southern Railway Co. abandons the portion of track serving the McWilliams Power Plant, AEC forms a subsidiary to operate a shortline railroad, The Andalusia and Conecuh Railroad, Inc. The railroad track continues service from the Shaw Plant to Andalusia, Alabama.

Of course, General Manager Charles Lowman and the rest of AEC had already undertaken drastic measures, including reducing the cooperative’s electricity usage. As the steady line of load growth plateaued, rates continued to increase, leaving utilities unsure how to predict future energy needs. To cope, AEC management asked the Board for a rate increase on several occasions, but the individual member systems—just as strapped for cash—were reluctant. “I did financials on a 13-column pad—we didn’t have computers—and I remember saying, ‘I just brought down the last dime on our line of credit,’” said Rick Kyle, PowerSouth’s Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. “Our liquidity was extremely low, and we were basically out of cash.” In desperation, the Board had no choice but to approve the rate increase. “Sometimes we didn’t know whether we’d be able to stay in business or not,” Lowman later said. “There were some tough times back then. We just did what we had to do, what we could do, to survive.” Debra Roberts (left) and Wilbur Rollins.

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1984

AT-A-GLANCE 2,024,451 MWH Total Sales

426 MW

1984

Alabama territorial legislation passes, delineating territories for cooperatives and investor-owned utilities in Alabama.

System Peak Demand

$135,357,060 Operating Revenue

$134,243,110 Expenses

A Future of Planning and Innovation Having experienced tough times in the past, AEC employees again rose to the challenge. Scrapping the old forecasting model, AEC surveyed member system residential consumers to create new data for projection purposes. They also embarked on power planning studies to capitalize on hydro’s potential and maximize existing generation capabilities. Based on the studies’ recommendations, AEC worked vigorously to meet individual member system load requirements dependably and at a minimum cost. “This, as I see it, is a tremendously significant undertaking because of drastic changes taking place in traditional energy use patterns,” said Hill. “It is essential that we do the best possible planning so that our future investments will be made wisely and well.”

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Right: Sam Maughon (left) and Larry Avery.


“After we began converting from 46KV to 115KV lines, our outages started going down. Then we started expanding, building lines all across our member systems so that we were connected and integrated.”

—Larry Avery, retired Vice President of Engineering and Operations

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1985

Hurricanes Kate and Elena strike the Gulf Coast, hitting several AEC member systems. AEC transmission facilities have no damage.

The extraordinarily high fuel rates made it apparent that the future would also require AEC to explore other fuel sources. The cooperative continued to pursue an interest in Alabama Power’s Farley Nuclear Plant and looked for other ways to ease dependency on coal. Accustomed to thinking outside the box to solve problems, the cooperative considered building an ethanol plant, but studies showed little feasibility. Talk turned to burning wood chips, but the high silica content formed glass that clogged the grates in the system. “In one of our more interesting experiments, we burned pelletized peanut hulls, which have a combustion efficiency equal to that of coal but 10 times the allowable emissions levels,” remembers John Howard, retired Vice President of Power Production. “We hauled them over and filled up our silos and started burning them, and the next thing you know, somebody’s pigs got out. We had five or six hogs gathering up at the power plant. I guess they could smell the peanuts.” 74


Two alternatives proved more successful. By the end of the 1980s, plans were under way to convert and repower the coal-fired McWilliams Plant to a natural gas-fired combinedcycle plant. In a first for the U.S. and only the second in the world, AEC partnered with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in 1985 to build a compressed air energy storage (CAES) plant in McIntosh, Alabama. Using underground salt caverns as storage, the plant compresses air into an underground storage reservoir at high pressure. The stored energy is released during intermediate and peak energy demand periods to generate electricity.

Opposite page: Margaret Marks, retired Lowman Power Plant Operating Technician. Left: Branson Williams (left) and Tommy Thompson.

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1986

June — AEC completes its new headquarters in Andalusia. “I think our consumers are proud of our modern facilities, because many of them are able to see how far we’ve come over the years,” said Edwyna Ivey, retired Executive Secretary. “I think they take pride in our success and the success of the rural electrification program.”

Left: AEC Headquarters expansion completed in 1986. Below left: James Vann and Keith Ramer (right of sign) accept the “Business of the Month” award from Andalusia community members. Opposite page: Lowman Power Plant employees (from left): Wayne Brown, Mark Lewis, Darrell Lathan, James Bayles and Luke Crowell.

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Independent and Interconnected Another seismic shift in AEC’s traditional way of doing business occurred in 1984, when the cooperative completed a 230kV interconnection with South Mississippi Electric Power Association (SMEPA). The interconnection allowed AEC to cancel its wholesale power contracts with Alabama Power Company and Gulf Power Company. For the first time in AEC history, the cooperative operated as an independent balancing authority. “Historically, this was a significant event in that it gave AEC an outlet other than Alabama Power Company for buying and selling power,” said Gaines Roy Jeffcoat, AEC Board Chairman in 1984. “With an emphasis on the interconnection, this made it possible for short-term power sales to SMEPA and the Municipal Energy Agency of Mississippi. These sales helped AEC hold the line on increasing rates.”

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1987

August — A residential consumer survey finds that a “typical” AEC consumer-member lives in a rural, nonfarm area in a single-family wood-frame house. The house is more than 20 years old with one bathroom and six or seven other rooms. Total heated area of the house is between 801 and 1,200 square feet. AEC opens the Northwest Florida Development Group in Bonifay to provide industrial and economic development support to AEC’s members in northwest Florida.

Opposite page: AEC employees.

“Growing out…to grow up” Just as market forces changed the way AEC did business, so did internal forces. In this new “operational era,” “it wasn’t strictly about building lines anymore,” said James A. Vann, Jr., who became AEC’s Executive Vice President and General Manager when Lowman retired in 1988. “The focus had shifted to operating the lines, providing better reliability and educating the member owners in the use of electricity.” New employees brought new ideas about how to work smarter and more efficiently. Policies were updated. Procedures were documented. Systems were put into place to generate upto-date data and keep AEC in line with ever-changing and ever-growing environmental and regulatory requirements. “Everything was from scratch,” remembers Palmore. “It was all new. But it was a growth period, and looking back I see it as a time when the co-op had to grow out of a lot of things to grow up. Before, Mr. Holley brought AEC a long way. Then we brought the co-op a long way.”

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Job training became more select, with positions filled by people who had specific skill sets. “When I started with AEC, being a ‘jack of all trades’ was pretty common,” said Carl Halacker, retired Right-of-Way Supervisor. Long-range planning became a priority, with AEC and its member systems working together to proactively rather than reactively set 10-year goals in all aspects of business. “It was the first time the co-op had ever gotten together and decided what’s going to happen in the future,” said Palmore. “That did more to pull us together than anything.” New initiatives in communication and marketing kept AEC connected to member systems and the communities they served. In July 1987, AEC kicked off the Good Cents program. As the first system-unified marketing program, it promoted energy-efficient homes and heat pumps, thereby reducing total demand requirements. By year’s end, 1,000 new Good Cents homes had been certified by member systems. Later, this program became so successful that it shifted AEC from a summer-peaking to a winter-peaking system.

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Charles Lowman: “Of good charac unusual abilities…”

ter and with

n some for the l Manager, worked 38 years and the era Gen ved belo ’s AEC n, ma Low Charles mer of 1948 as a His first job at AEC? Working the sum cooperative before retiring in 1988. lineman’s helper. We worked . “You just did a little bit of everything. said he n,” the k bac nts’ ‘gru m the “They called stations. The lines that always failed. We worked on sub on old hydroelectric plant equipment was. There wasn’t out and try to find where the trouble go ld wou we and n, dow run all e wer ble, the whole em back then, so when we had trou syst n ssio smi tran the on em syst any relaying e.” system would go out at the same tim of 20 men from bama, Lowman was selected as one Ala ier, Doz in ool sch high ting dua After gra class at the University of Alabama. across the U.S. to take a pre-radar ity,” he said. t’s how I got my first start in electric tha and ar, rad and io rad ght tau then came “They orne radar repairman in the Pacific, airb an as ed serv n ma Low II, r Wa During World in 1950 as a fullurn on the GI Bill. He returned to AEC home and studied engineering at Aub time engineer. working for AEC while still “I never dreamed that when I started g my entire work life to this in college that I would end up devotin company,” he said. man to serve as General In 1970, the AEC Board tapped Low Manager a couple of years Manager. He had served as Interim be “of good character and before, and they considered him to ntly, Lowman knew the AEC with unusual abilities.” More importa system inside and out. rsaw some of the most difficult For the next 18 years, Lowman ove uncertainty, rate increases times AEC has ever faced: member . and financial strain, to name a few nt weeks testifying in During one court battle, Lowman spe lawyers lined the table on Washington, D.C. Alabama Power cGuineas, a Washington one side; Mr. Lowman and Biard Ma attorney, sat on the other.

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1988

May 1 — James A. Vann, Jr., is named AEC Executive Vice President and General Manager when Charles Lowman retires. June 1 — AEC becomes fully responsible for supplying bulk electrical power to all member systems, saving AEC $5 million during the last seven months of the year.

“I felt like the little guy,” he said. Back home, Lowman was anything but.

Opposite page: Charles R. Lowman. Below: Lowman at the Lowman Power Plant, renamed in his honor.

“Mr. Lowman walked on cotton—yo u could never hear him coming!” said Mattie Freeney, retired Engineering Analyst. “And he had the driest sense of humor. But everybody respected him because Mr. Lowman worked his way up to the top.” “Mr. Lowman was very meticulous,” said Edwyna Ivey, his longtime secretary. “He wro te important letters out for me in a beautiful long hand style.” “He was probably one of the better people that I’ve ever met—and a strong lead er,” said Earl McBryde, retired Administrative Services Manager. “He is the man responsible for where the company is today.” In early 1988, the AEC Board renam ed the Tombigbee Plant the “Charles R. Low man Power Plant” in his honor. At Lowman’s reti rement party in 1988, AEC Board Chairman H.W . Norris said that Lowman, widely recognized as the “dean” of generation and transmission coo perative managers, has “achieved greatness , not because he was born with it or because it was thrust upon him. He achieved it by working har d, by using to the maximum the talents which God gav e him.”

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Above: Alabama Power Company’s James H. Miller, Jr., Electric Generating Plant. Left: AEC press release announcing the Miller purchase agreement. Opposite page: (from left): Larry Avery, Bill Rogers and Chad Jenkins.

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AEC becomes one of the nation’s first utilities to leverage satellite technology for substation telemetry communications. VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) satellite allowed for real time data collection from offsystem member distribution stations for power purchases.

1989

December 24 — Temperatures in Alabama fall into the single digits. As a result, AEC’s demand reaches an all-time peak of 1,008.7 megawatts, 17.7 percent higher than the previous peak of 857 megawatts set Aug. 5, 1989, and 42 percent higher than the previous December peak.

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Poised for a New Decade By the end of the decade, AEC had not only survived, but had also proven it could weather a variety of challenges. Since 1983, the cooperative had managed to issue credits to member systems, resulting in six rate decreases. It made significant system improvements, including modifying all three units at the Lowman Plant to meet future load requirements. The greatest accomplishment, however, was the groundwork laid for continued success in the 1990s. Construction was under way at the compressed air energy storage plant and for the repowering of the McWilliams Plant. Teamwork between Southern Pine EC and AEC’s marketing, financial and engineering divisions paid off with a 10-year contract to furnish power to Alabama River Newsprint. When completed in 1990, it would be one of the largest industrial users of electricity in America. In 1988, AEC agreed to an ownership interest in Alabama Power Company’s James H. Miller, Jr., Electric Generating Plant, securing baseload generation for AEC members. This was a mutually acceptable alternative to AEC’s request for partial ownership of Farley Nuclear Power Plant. Planning for the future, rather than just reacting, Vann said, brings good end results that assure members of a prosperous future. “Reaching this peak has not been an easy task,” he said. “Even more difficult is the challenge of implementing a continuing plan to ensure that we—AEC and our member systems— improve our competitive postures and maintain our excellent operating positions into the next decade and beyond.”

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Scott Wright inspects Tombigbee Unit 2.


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Above: AEC basketball team members (kneeling) Floyd Wood, Dan Gantt, Jim Kelley and Curtis Creech; (standing) Sammy Hogg, Jim Turner, John Wesley, James Pugh, Larry Hilburn and Eddie Edson. Left: The “Willie Wiredhand Bowlers,” circa 1960. Opposite page, top: Mark Dayton and Jay Farrington.

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Opposite page, bottom: AEC softball team circa 1980. (Kneeling, from left): Eddie Edson, Cheryl Antram, Liz Smith, Carol Page, Barbara Bulger; (standing) John Norris, Gary Goodson, Donnie Tillman, Billy Wayne Griffin and Jeff Beasley.


One Big Happy AEC Team ity sports teams. One has sponsored a number of commun h out erS Pow ory, hist its t hou oug Thr caps and shirts, they m, organized in 1957. Dressed in REA of the first was the AEC softball tea League. competed in the Andalusia Softball

Bowlers” In the 1960s, the “Willie Wiredhand ned in formed when a new bowling alley ope ington Andalusia. The wives of AEC and Cov Morning EC employees bowled in the Ladies Bowling League. the “The bowling alley had a nursery for have to children so we could bowl and not wife of worry about them,” said Mary Hill, er retired Covington EC General Manag John Hill.

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Socializing the AEC Way pany picnics From the earliest days of AEC, com after hours. gave employees a way to socialize ual picnic was As early as 1959, the Spring Fling ann camp stew, held at the Point A Lodge. Barbecue, ed, while chips and ice cream were usually serv ing, bingo and activities generally included swimm horseshoes. own version: the Ash Bash. Lowman Plant employees had their out that Robby Hunt “It was a potluck, but when we found worked at Crispy Chick in [now Lowman Plant Manager] had all the chicken,� said Barbara college, we started making him fry Plant Secretary. Whitehead, retired Lowman Power

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THE VOICE OF THE MEMBER SYSTEMS

JUNE 17, 1937

South Alabama Electric Cooperative 16,324

Average consumers served

2,705 Miles of line

“In the utility industry, the economies have changed, the market has changed, the demands from consumers have changed. Today, the world doesn’t run without electricity. It’s our job to provide quality and reliability, and we want to do it. Our employees have a high degree of care and concern for our members, and they will do whatever it takes to make sure we’ve met their needs and desires—regardless of the change that comes.” —Max Davis, (Retired) General Manager

MARCH 16, 1939

AUGUST 18, 1938

Southern Pine Electric Cooperative

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Troy, Alabama

21,177

Average consumers served

Brewton, Alabama

3,326 Miles of line

“Southern Pine Electric Cooperative was formed by a group of people who longed for the miracle of electricity for their homes and farms. They worked hard, going door to door signing up friends and neighbors. Their hard work paid off. Today, Southern Pine continues to deliver the miracle of electricity— and we take it as seriously as we did back then. With constant change in industry, culture and economies, that job is far from over.” —Vince Johnson, CEO and General Manager

Tallapoosa River Electric Cooperative

LaFayette, Alabama

26,123

Miles of line

Average consumers served

3,871

“The future of Tallapoosa River Electric Cooperative looks much like our past. We’ve historically grown slow and steady, and we anticipate continuing this type of growth. Our location along the I-85 corridor from Atlanta to Montgomery gives us the opportunity to serve the industrial customers there. We have also always been a conservative co-op. We anticipate maintaining that philosophy, which is what made us and kept us going through good times and bad.” —Louie Ward, General Manager


DECEMBER 11, 1937

West Florida Electric Cooperative 28,176

Average consumers served

4,781

Miles of line

“Many electric co-op employees live in the communities we serve. They are proud to work for an organization that supports the community and allows them to spend an entire career doing something they love. But they’re not just loyal—they’re truly nice people. Our network of 20 systems working together with this type of employee is what makes us remarkable. We rely on each other and the capable leadership at PowerSouth.” —Russell Dunaway, Executive Vice President/CEO

Wiregrass Electric Cooperative AUGUST 16, 1939

Graceville, Florida

23,671

Average consumers served

Hartford, Alabama

3,094 Miles of line

“Our members are the fabric of this country, the salt of the earth, the people that feed us and volunteer for the military. If electric cooperatives didn’t exist, people couldn’t live in rural America. We stand in the gap to preserve American values. What we do at Wiregrass Electric Cooperative is important. My employees can be proud of what they do. We make a difference.” —Les Moreland, CEO

APRIL 30, 1904

The Utilities Board of the City of Andalusia, Alabama 4,661

Average consumers served

166

Miles of line

“It all started in Andalusia, in this area. We had our own little diesel generator downtown where they generated power. At night, they’d turn the thing off. At some point, they realized that unless we stepped up, we were going to be left behind—and that’s when the leaders of these small utilities got together and created AEC. That’s when the world changed.” —Earl V. Johnson, Mayor, City of Andalusia

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CHAPTER FOUR

1990-1999

“Truly,we’ve come of age” What a difference a decade makes. By acquiring the Alabama River Newsprint load in 1990, AEC became a recognizable supplier in the competitive regional utility market. “But just as important is what we proved by acquiring this load. Lower power rates mean lower operating costs, and that makes AEC and our state more attractive to industry,” said James A. Vann, Jr., Executive Vice President and General Manager at the time. “We have now shown everyone that AEC has the ability to attract and serve large industrial loads. Truly, we’ve come of age.”

Contractors place pipe into the cavern at the CAES plant.

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“This is an exciting time for AEC and its member-owners. We are strong, both operationally and financially; we have established a cost-efficient balance of supply and demand; and we have assembled a dedicated corps of employees. With the continued support of our Board and member-owners, we are confident of our ability to face the future.” —James A. Vann, Jr., Former Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer

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“Another generation of reliable, economical power production” Much of AEC’s success in the 1990s resulted from projects designed to meet environmental guidelines for emissions, disposal and fuels, and to ensure that customers would have access to affordable, reliable power. “At the time, we weren’t utilizing our capacity from the Lowman plant, so the CAES project fit our economics,” said John Howard, retired Vice President of Power Production. “It also brought AEC a lot of national attention. We had engineers from all over the world come to see it—and still do.” Additional wheeling capabilities and improved transmission reliability for the CAES plant load occurred with the construction of a second 230kV interconnection with South Mississippi Electric Power Association (SMEPA) in 1993. Another landmark for AEC generation happened in 1992 when the cooperative began utilizing its ownership interest in Alabama Power’s coal-fired James H. Miller, Jr., Electric Generating Plant. Available system capacity increased from 721 megawatts to 835 megawatts. Opposite page: (from left): John Howard (retired Vice President of Power Production), James A. Vann, Jr. (former AEC Executive Vice President and General Manager), Malloy Chandler (retired Pioneer EC General Manager and former AEC Board Chairman), Newt Campbell (Burns & McDonnell Representative) and EPRI’s Robert Schanker at the CAES dedication ceremony. Left: Ralph Gunter at the McIntosh CAES Unit.

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1990

March 16 — Torrential rains flood the AEC service area. Elba, Alabama, is hit hardest when a protective levee around the city breaks under the strain of more than 16 inches of rain. The entire downtown submerges, some areas over 12 feet. The flood is reminiscent of the March 1929 flood when similar flooding occurred at Elba, and the Gantt and Point A Dams washed out. May — AEC energizes the 100-mile 115kV West Point transmission line from Pine Level, Alabama, to West Point, Georgia. The line interconnects the AEC system with Oglethorpe Power Corporation, providing access to other utilities to the east for power transactions.

Stack demolition during the McWilliams Power Plant repowering project.

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1992

The Council of Rural Electric Communicators awards the AEC Communications Department the Edgar F. Chesnutt Award for having the best total communications program among electric cooperatives nationwide. The CAES plant receives the Grand Award from the American Consulting Engineers Council and the Powerplant Award from Power magazine for its design and technology.

In 1996, AEC repowered the McWilliams Plant by converting it from coal to combined-cycle natural gas using a new combustion turbine paired with a heat recovery system and the plant’s three existing steam turbines. The repowering prolonged the plant’s useful life. “AEC’s founders looked to the future in the 1950s when they built the McWilliams Power Plant,” said Gene Smith, retired Chief Executive Officer of CHELCO and former AEC Board Chairman. “We also looked to the future with this plant. It helped move AEC and its members into the 21st century and another generation of reliable, economical power production.” In 1998, two additional gas-fired combustion turbines installed at the McIntosh Plant brought AEC’s total generating capacity to approximately 1,100 megawatts.

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1994

AT-A-GLANCE 5,461,757 MWH Total Sales

1,228 MW System Peak Demand

$216,790,892 Operating Revenue

$214,199,242 Expenses

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1994

December 1 — REA reorganizes and is renamed after nearly 60 years when U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy signs an order moving most REA functions and loan programs into a new Rural Utilities Service (RUS).

“Technology bridged the gap” Wide-sweeping technological advances during this era complemented the system’s physical improvements. As early as 1978, the cooperative purchased a computer for accounting functions. In 1984, the Engineering Department installed a personal computer “to supplement human efforts and optimize manpower use.” In 1989, AEC implemented a new energy management system that included a load forecasting program. “Before computers, John Smith, one of the smartest people I’ve ever worked with, would figure out on a yellow tablet the price of energy and what it should be sold for to make us money,” said Larry Avery, retired Vice President of Engineering and Operations. “With the new system, we could determine the most economical combination of purchased power and generation and the best price for selling excess energy.” In the 1990s, technology’s adaptability and affordability made it easier to streamline work. One of the most revolutionary technologies of the time was a new remote network where member systems dialed in through telephone lines, completed on-screen forms and sent them electronically to AEC. Today, it’s known as the internet.

Left: Harley Ray Wytch, Travis Malone and Frank Hare at McWilliams control room.

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“Up until the McWilliams repower in 1996, our plant was vintage 1950s,” said David Wyatt, Central Generation Plant Manager. “Nothing had changed. After the repowering project, we trained our guys, and six months later, they were operating this plant flawlessly using 21st-century technology. It was an evolution, a merging of old folks with new technology. “Take Roger Hammonds. He’s just an old country boy like the rest of us, and he caught on to the computerized control system really quickly. Now he’s our control system specialist. I’m talking about a guy with a high school education running a manual power plant who is self-taught on computers—and now he’s our go-to guy.” Sam Loper, retired Lowman Power Plant Supervisor, said that when he started, the latest technology was pneumatic controls—everything was controlled by air. “Young people don’t even know what ‘pneumatic’ means today,” he said. “Back then, we would run a bunch of tests and it would take us a month or so to get the results back. Now, that data is in front of the plant operator at all times.” 100


1996

In addition to using the three existing steam turbines, the McWilliams Power Plant repowers with a natural gasfired 107-megawatt combustion turbine-generator and heat recovery system that recycles exhaust heat to create steam and power the plant’s existing steam turbines.

“We went from flipping a switch to turning a knob to using a mouse,” said Billy Barnes, retired Central Generation Instrument Technician. “Before we repowered the plant, it had gotten to a point where parts were no longer available. Technology helped us operate more efficiently and safely.” More than any other innovation, technology helped transform AEC into a modern cooperative. “When I came we were probably 20 years behind the investor-owned utilities,” said Avery. “By the time I left, we were ahead. The reason is this: we had to work smarter. We couldn’t afford the overhead that went along with having five people do four jobs. Here, one person does four or five jobs. Technology bridged the gap between us and the rest of the world. It really helped us blossom during that time.” Opposite page: Technological advances made plant management easier and more efficient. Here, an unidentified contract employee configures controls in the Lowman control room. Right: Dan Carpenter at McWilliams Power Plant.

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Safety: “You don’t play cowboy anymore” Against a backdrop of continual change, an emphasis on safety has remained constant over AEC’s 75-year history. “Safety was important from day one,” explains Frank Hare, retired McWilliams Plant Supervisor. “Back then, it was more informal—we used common sense. We learned as we did our jobs, and we passed it on to the next generation.” “When I came here in 1979, everybody was in hard hats and tennis shoes. I mixed acids and handled chemicals wearing my T-shirt,” said Robby Hunt, Lowman Power Plant Manager. “We had one safety guy who would come over every now and then and do a safety meeting. “Over time we went to steel-toed boots and safety glasses and a lot more gloves,” he said. “We wear flame-retardant clothing for any kind of electrical interaction and bubble suits for heavy-duty electrical stuff. My safety guys now would have coronaries if they saw how we did things back then. Safety procedures take time, but they keep everyone safe and going home in one piece at the end of the day.” 102


In the past, employees often made safety decisions on the fly; today there are stringent checks and procedures for each task. “One time, a bunch of snakes got inside the Unit 1 Building, so an employee got his gun and started shooting snakes in the pump pit. He got fired,” said Barbara Whitehead, retired Lowman Power Plant Secretary. “So much has changed…I mean, you don’t play cowboy anymore,” said David Wyatt, Central Generation Plant Manager. “We have procedures now to open a breaker. Twenty years ago you’d just go down there bare-handed and open it. Now you suit up and know what category of hazards you’ve got, and you use automated equipment that you can put up to the breaker and a remote control that opens it. Safety is a big deal to us.”

Opposite page, top: AEC employees celebrate a safety milestone. Opposite page: Signs keep safety in the forefront. Above: Employees participate in a safety demonstration. (From left): Robert Daniels, Joe Bracewell, William Taylor, Eddie Green, Ceil Smith, John Hall and Claude Frazier.

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1998

June — McIntosh Units 2 and 3 simple-cycle combustion turbines are complete.

Sometimes, it’s not what you do, it’s what you don’t do that keeps you safe. Avoiding stupid mistakes is just as important as using safety gear. “Once, I was watching when they got ready to drop the station,” said Avery, “and I said, ‘I’ll help you with that.’ I reached over and flipped the breaker…and dropped the whole plant. I looked like an idiot right there in front of the crew. So at the next safety meeting, I gave them a little spiel on paying attention and used myself as an example—the perfect example of making a stupid mistake.”

Above: (from left): Jimmy Eiland, Donnie Day, Tommy Kervin and Donnie Dean practice first aid. Right: Employees take part in a defensive driving course. (From left): John Norris, Richard Adams and Leroy Williams.

104


105


owth James A. Vann, Jr.: A Legacy of Gr trification advisor at beginning of his career as a rural elec the from n ma p co-o a was n Van Jim ’s President and CEO when he retired after 12 years as AEC Dixie EC to the end, 39 years later, in 2000. attention when he l, powerful personality commanded efu forc his , nds pou 230 and 6’6” At stability, new electric nager, he tackled challenges like rate walked into a room. A hands-on ma elopment. y, and industrial and economic dev generation technology, member unit

(who worked Longtime AEC secretary Edwyna Ivey “I enjoyed working for Jim Vann from 1988-1991), said, iastic. He always with him because he was so enthus going on and made a point of telling me what was t of any project.” making me feel like an important par

Above: Vann speaking at the Tombigbee Power Plant expansion groundbreaking ceremony, 1975. Left: A young Vann during his Dixie EC years on an AEC tour.

106


At the McWilliams Power Plant: Ed Frye, James Vann, Willie Ballard, Billy Barnes and Mack Cottle.

e and for all of ke things better for the cooperativ ma to way a for ing look ays alw “He was er Chairman of President/CEO of Dixie EC and form n, riso Har ry Ga said s,” ber mem our ial legislation peratives filed suit during the territor PowerSouth’s Board. “When the coo Dixie EC’s s back to Mr. Vann [who was formerly goe t tha and , first d liste was EC dispute, Dixie Vann said, ‘I’ll have to have somebody go first,’ Mr. ‘We , said y the en Wh er]. nag Ma l Genera do it.’”

. Lowman ked with Vann during his tenure. “Mr wor l, nse Cou l era Gen h out erS Pow Ted Jackson, es of trying to rything fit together, and in the thro eve how ood erst und who r inee eng was an right guy to be there. get adequate generation, he was the

ting person who he didn’t need to be. He was a marke “Jim Vann was not an engineer, and tremendously PowerSouth where they could expand for e mod wth gro nt ere diff a ized recogn plants—and they did,” said Jackson. without having to build new power t to bolster fidence,” he continued. “He used tha -con self of l leve high y ver a had “Above all, Jim the big boys. them feel like they could compete with ke ma and ps co-o the of nce fide the con reputation of PowerSouth.” His legacy is building the image and

107


“A united group in this unknown environment” With the new millennium in sight, being competitive meant playing a more aggressive game in the utility industry—and for AEC, that meant a new focus on marketing. AEC watched with interest as a powerful trend toward electric utility restructuring occurred in other states but maintained a “very deliberate and cautious approach in Alabama and Florida.” “Electric deregulation is a lot like going to the county fair. There’s lots of excitement, lots of confusion and lots of strange people trying to sell you stuff. But most important of all, there’s lots of stuff you don’t want to step in,” said Ed Short, President, CEO and General Manager of Covington EC and former AEC Board Chairman. While Short’s prediction proved accurate, as evidenced later by California’s deregulation missteps and Enron, AEC moved forward with a message of strength and security.

108

Right: The Touchstone Energy balloon travels across the country to build brand recognition and support.


1999

All mission-critical systems are Y2K-ready prior to the year 2000 rollover. Anticipating an increase in questions, AEC activates a Y2K newsline for employees.

To assure end-users that cooperatives could deliver reliable, affordable power, several generation and transmission cooperatives (G&Ts) banded together to create Touchstone Energy, a national marketing initiative. The purpose of the organization was to create a national brand that memberconsumers would recognize if deregulation gave them a choice of electric suppliers. Subsequently, membership was extended to hundreds of distribution systems across the nation. Most of AEC’s member systems participated. “Touchstone Energy has certainly generated a lot of interest from our consumers,” said Bob Marshall, former Coosa Valley EC General Manager. “They see the various Touchstone Energy ads and gain a good feeling that we are part of a much larger organization. It helps them understand that our chances of future success are stronger as a united group in this unknown environment.” The unified brand name reinforced the importance of unity between AEC and its member systems in facing future challenges. “While much has changed in AEC’s history, even more so in the last 10 years, one factor that remains unchanged is the strength we find through unity,” said Max Davis, retired South Alabama EC General Manager and former AEC Board Chairman. “With the continued support of our member owners, we will continue to take the steps to solidify our competitiveness in the 21st century.”

109


How Times Change PowerSouth employees no longer dig power pole holes by hand, use computers that fill an entire floor, or share desks. Today, thanks to changes in safety, technology and perspective, work gets done smarter and safer than ever.

Then

1949 “There was not a lot of office space. The only person who had a private office was the general manager. The accounting department was one big room with the desks arranged so that they were facing each other. Employees shared desks, telephones and typewriters. It was difficult to concentrate with more than one person in an office.” Edwyna Ivey, retired AEC Executive Secretary

Now “Private offices have been added, training rooms have been enhanced, and technology continues to evolve. In 2013, the Avery Building added approximately 10,000 square feet of office and training space for line and substation crews.” Buddy Manring, Safety Manager

Then

1951 “We did all the work by hand. We used two stiff-legged boom trucks, which are stationary rigs used to move poles with a cable; log anchors, which were buried by hand to support the guy wire; and hand tamps to tamp or pack the poles in the ground.” Dock Hall, retired AEC Lineman

Now “Line crews use trucks mounted with hydraulic diggers and aerial bucket devices. The bucket trucks reach heights up to 100 feet and are used for de-energized work or energized bare-hand work. All trucks are equipped with hydraulic tool circuits for running impact tools and installing screw anchors, and tamps for compacting soil around a newly set pole. They also have hydraulic-assist front ends and 6x6 drive for working in harsh environments.” Max Smith, Central Line Supervisor

110

Above: Edwyna Ivey. Below: (From left): Phil Radford, Mike Blocker, Douglas Castleberry, Steve Brooks and Hill Mock.


Then

1954 “AEC’s communications network consisted of a single two-way base station, two power line carrier links and a few telephones.” Hill Mock, retired AEC Communications Supervisor

Now “The telecom network includes 56 towers, 55 microwave hops, 387 substation radios, 395 telemetry radios, 404 mobile radios and 870 internal phone extensions.” Chad Jenkins, Telecommunications Services Manager

Then

1957 “Cutting right-of-ways was the toughest job. All we had to work with was bush hooks and chain saws. There was a five-man crew, and each man was responsible for clearing a 10-foot strip until we had cleared a 100-foot strip.” Mack Cottle, retired Class A Maintenance, McWilliams Plant

Now “Some right-of-ways are over 75 years old. Hand work is still a necessity but only in swamps or environmentally sensitive areas. Usually workers in bucket trucks cut tree limbs using 80-foot booms with circular saws on the end. Mechanical mowing with large tractors and heavy-duty rotary cutters, along with herbicides, controls the underbrush. In some cases a helicopter with 10-12 saws at the end of an extension arm flies down the right-of-way cutting limbs.” Tim Messick, Transmission O&M Services Supervisor

Right top: Early A-frame truck. Right bottom: Modern digger-derrick truck.

111


Then

we had to schedule an outage to midnight during mally, we’d schedule the outage at rebuild or rework a substation. Nor e reason we the work in one night, but if for som a weekend. Usually, we could finish ng so until the following weekend and keep doi couldn’t, we’d schedule an outage for er rebuilding n 40 to 50 people working togeth the project was completed. I’ve see le others t. Some changed the insulators whi a substation in the middle of the nigh tches.” reworked the transformers and swi nance Supervisor James Whatley, retired AEC Mainte

ion, 1974 “Before purchasing the mobile substat

Now

intenance rarely work at night for routine ma and ions stat sub ile mob r fou e hav “We s to rework a the steel structures and used ladder or upgrades. Back then, we climbed omplish their ll bucket trucks and man lifts to acc station. Now our technicians use sma climb the steel when necessary. work, but also still use ladders and y are able to leave six people to rework a station. The “Typically we use a crew of four to doesn’t have to be n the job is finished since the work a station in ‘like new’ condition whe tools and test outage without electricity to operate done at midnight during a six-hour equipment.” Phillip Spivey, Substation Supervisor

Then

CS/40 Model 6 Computer System four different essing and a remote terminal with features state-of-the-art multi-proc ultaneously. functions that can be performed sim

tem 1978 A new Data General Commercial Sys

1978 Annual Report

Now

ting all of advanced wide-area network connec “Today, our computer system is an 204 laptop/ 113 servers, 580 desktop computers, PowerSouth’s facilities and hosting devices (iPhones and iPads).” tablet computers, and 322 mobile s Manager Craig Kilpatrick, Information System

112


Jud Patterson (left) and Joe Bracewell.

113


114


Then

bed and special occasions. Linemen free-clim s intenance. We used shovels to fill hole them in position during routine ma

1985 “We had two bucket trucks we used for used belts to hold and patrolled lines by foot.” sor Mike Grimes, Central Lines Supervi

Now

crew cannot s it daily. Poles are climbed only if the use and k truc ket buc a has w cre “Every percent of the fall restraint belts and are belted 100 get a bucket to a pole. Linemen use copters are used to buckets fill holes, and ATVs and heli time. Tractors with front-end loader patrol lines.” sor Mike Grimes, Central Lines Supervi

Then

wing l with paper charts and little pins dra wal o vide a had we m, roo trol con 1996 “In the that chart to let us er roll with a pen drawing a line on pap -fed vity gra a and , out ds loa these e on paper roll ran out, we’d write the dat know how we were doing. When the it and store it.” Manager Tim Hattaway, Energy Control Center

Now

everything is stored on a computer.” “Now, it’s all digital technology, and Manager Tim Hattaway, Energy Control Center

Opposite page: AEC employees John Smith (foreground) and Dallas Merritt monitoring the system. Left: AEC linemen perform poleclimbing safety drills.

115


FEBRUARY 2, 1948

DECEMBER 5, 1947

THE VOICE OF THE MEMBER SYSTEMS The City of Brundidge, Alabama

1,279

68

Average consumers served

“The City of Brundidge had a contract with Alabama Water Service Company since the early 1930s. When Alabama Electric bought the water company, we stayed with AEC, making us one of the first PowerSouth members. We are also one of the smallest, but being part of the PowerSouth team gives us clout that we wouldn’t have on our own. PowerSouth is a player in this region’s development, and together we are poised to be even bigger.” —James T. Ramage III, Mayor

Water Works & Electric Board of the City of Elba, Alabama 1,767

Average consumers served

NOVEMBER 8, 1947

85

Miles of line

“Owning our own utility gives the City of Elba autonomy and control in making decisions for our community, but most importantly, it gives us flexibility in funding sources. That has been essential to our survival through multiple natural disasters that have hit our area since its founding.”

116

Miles of line

—Mickey L. Murdock, Mayor

The Utilities Board of the City of Opp, Alabama 3,180

Average consumers served

81

Miles of line

“Our customers are like family, so we try to keep the rates low with costsaving innovations. Even though we are small, we strive to offer the same services as the larger systems. And we take pride in making sure the lights stay on.” —Stacey Parker, Utilities Board GM/CFO

A


POWERSOUTH SYST

EM MAP

117


“It ’ s a great mission to deliver power to people ’ s homes. I think that, with the exception of the church, nobody contributes to people ’ s quality of life more than electric cooperatives do.”

—Leigh Grantham, Vice President of Member Services and Communications

118


CHAPTER FIVE

2000-2016

“A path for serving people” When Gary Smith became PowerSouth’s fifth President and CEO in 2000, he emphasized the cooperative’s role in assuring a modern standard of living for rural communities. “We were formed by leaders of the communities we serve to provide services that no one else would provide and to bring the standard of living up to modern standards,” he said. “It is our responsibility to ensure that the people of rural Alabama and northwest Florida have the same benefits and opportunities as people living in more urban centers.”

Hand-painted murals in downtown Andalusia, Alabama, depict the early days of rural electrification and celebrate those who made it happen.

119


What’s in a Name? Under Smith’s guidance, the cooperative reinforced its role as a leader for positive change in the communities it serves. One very visible change occurred in 2008. As early as 1985, an external study suggested that AEC’s name be changed to better reflect its service area. But sentiment was strong for the original name. Even the Florida members said: “The current name, ‘Alabama Electric Cooperative,’ denotes a warm and respected place in each of our minds and hearts. The co-ops of northwest Florida without exception count it a privilege and are proud to be a part of such a fine organization and respectfully request that the name of Alabama Electric Cooperative remain unchanged to carry us forward into the decade of the ‘90s.” The AEC Board tabled the discussion for 20 years before moving forward with a name change to “PowerSouth Energy Cooperative” in 2008. “It was a milestone for our company,” said Horace Horn, Vice President of External Affairs. “Suddenly, we were recognized as a regional company and player in the business community. It’s a name that is more indicative of who we are and what we do.” “It showed that we are serious about economic development and government affairs,” adds Seth Hammett, Vice President of Business Development. “It also brought a unity of purpose to the entire organization.” 120


The cooperative’s logos throughout the years. Bottom right: Charles Moore adds a Touchstone Energy sticker to a truck.

121


2000

January 14 — Gary Smith becomes AEC’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

PowerSouth Chairmen of the Board

Former Board Chairman Roy Jeffcoat.

1941-1966

M.A. McWilliams

1966-1967

M.Z. Jones

1967-1968

J.R. Utsey

1968-1974

Ray Jeffcoat

1974-1977

James A. Vann, Jr.

1977-1978

H.T. Strother

1978-1982

John E. Hill

1982-1985

Gaines Roy Jeffcoat

1985-1986

Thomas C. Perry

1986-1989

H.W. Norris

1989-1992

J. Malloy Chandler

1992-1995

Jack V. Taylor

1995-1998

J.E. Smith

1998-2001

Max I. Davis

2001-2004

Charles E. Short

2004-2007 Clay R. Campbell 2007-2010 James T. Ramage III 2011-2013

Ronald C. Jones R. Gary Harrison

2013-2014

William S. (Bill) Rimes

2010-2011

122

2015-present Stan Wilson


2001

December — The James A. Vann, Jr., Power Plant begins operation, adding 539 megawatts to PowerSouth’s generation capacity. A 61-mile, 20-inch pipeline delivers natural gas from Flomaton, Alabama, to the plant site.

Cultivating Communities Economic development efforts have always been part of the cooperative’s business strategy, but with each decade, the complexity of the work has grown. Comprehensive planning, providing technical assistance, funding and cultivating relationships are now integral to the process. “It’s not just a matter of saying, ‘Here’s our industrial park,’” said Victor Wyatt, Senior Industrial Development Representative. “Industrial development is a long process. We form action teams to make improvements in existing facilities, secure sites and revitalize downtown areas. It not only points out a community’s strengths and weaknesses, but it also gives community leaders a chance to work together.” Today, PowerSouth partners with a variety of government agencies and industries to attract business to the region. “We recruit new businesses to come and be served by our members, but even if it’s not serviceable by us, it’s beneficial to the region,” said Hammett. “If it’s beneficial to the region, it’s beneficial to the member systems and to PowerSouth.”

123


“A tremendous economic juggernaut” PowerSouth knows firsthand the impact a business can have in its region. For 75 years, the cooperative has anchored the business community in Andalusia and points beyond. There was once talk about moving headquarters to a more centralized location, one located on an interstate highway, but the suggestion never gained traction. “The idea that PowerSouth is even in Andalusia is remarkable,” said Earl Johnson, PowerSouth Board Member and Mayor of Andalusia. “Many of their employees work here in technical, professional jobs, and these employees bring education and training to our community that would otherwise never be here. It brings their salaries, and a great deal of that money gets spent right here.” “It is a tremendous economic juggernaut for the community— not only for Andalusia—but for Covington County,” added Ferrell Walton, retired Chief Financial Officer. The same goes for Washington County, home of Lowman Power Plant and McIntosh Power Plant. In addition to providing the employees’ wages that get spent in the area, PowerSouth contributes significant tax dollars that support county schools, hospitals, fire departments, roads and bridges, and that doesn’t include contributions that are made directly from the cooperative.

124

“Giving back to the communities we serve is an important part of our organization and one of our core values,” said Horn. “PowerSouth strives to make a difference and be true to sustainable development of the communities we serve.”


In addition to providing quality jobs in the region, PowerSouth is an important part of the community’s character. “It’s a very desirable place to work,” said Robby Hunt, Lowman Plant Manager. “Everybody’s got some kin folks who work here or who have worked here, so it’s kind of a big family out in the community.” “The guy that hired me said, ‘Your job is not controlled by the economy like big oil or tire manufacturers,’” remembers Charles Miller, retired Relay Technician. “He said, ‘People need electricity. They have to have electricity.’” The quality of PowerSouth’s contribution to the community comes from its high standards for employees. “They don’t hire people who aren’t first-class, and if you’re not first-class, you don’t stay long,” said Frank Hare, retired Central Generation Operations Employee. Earl McBryde, retired Administrative Services Manager, added, “I was an old country boy, not educated. But I had good training and good people to give me an opportunity. When I finally retired, I was Manager of Procurement. This company has been great to me.”

Left: Eric Copeland. Right: Earl McBryde.

125


2004

AT-A-GLANCE 8,596,603 MWH Total Sales

1,771 MW System Peak Demand

$445,234,773 Operating Revenue

$444,963,961 Expenses

126


James A. Vann, Jr., Power Plant.

POWER PLANT TIMELINE 1944

Gantt and Point A Dams purchased (built in the 1920s)

1955

Maury A. McWilliams Steam Power Plant operational

1969

Charles R. Lowman Power Plant Unit 1 in service

(Originally named the Tombigbee Power Plant)

1979

Lowman Unit 2 begins operations

1980

Lowman Unit 3 begins operations

1988

8.16 percent interest in Units 1 and 2 of Alabama Power Company’s

Miller Steam Plant purchased

1991

Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) plant declared commercial

(now McIntosh Unit 1)

1996

McWilliams repowering project completed

1998

Two combustion turbines added at McIntosh Power Plant (Units 2 and 3)

2002

James A. Vann, Jr., Power Plant becomes operational

2008

Air Quality Control project at Plant Lowman completed

2011

Two combustion turbines added at McIntosh Power Plant (Units 4 and 5)

127


2006

New and expanding industries in Alabama and Northwest Florida invest more than $2.7 billion and create 22,000 jobs in member-system communities.

One Cooperative, Many Areas of Expertise PowerSouth’s move into a new century of globalization and computerization has meant developing deep expertise in many specialized areas. Like the balance between providing low power rates and high reliability. “We are keenly aware of how important rates are to the member systems,” said Leigh Grantham, Vice President of Member Services and Communications. “Rates or reliability…which is more important for our future focus? That depends. If your lights are on, it’s rates. If the power is off, it’s reliability.” Or like the unity of the member systems. Grantham said, “We also can’t lose our focus on how we can all work better together. That’s why communications and member services will continue to be important.” “PowerSouth’s legal agreements play a central role in that unified strength,” says Damon Morgan, Chief Operating Officer. “Internally, one of the most critical threats to success or opportunities for success is member unity. The wholesale power contract is important as a legal document, but even more so as an indication of what holds us together. Our members have been committed to each other since we started in 1941. By working together, we will continue to operate and care for a system for the long term that serves our needs.” 128


Substation crew employees Keith Lynch (left) and Donnie Pitts.

129


PowerSouth and its member systems broke tradition in 2015 with new power contracts that automatically extend every five years unless a member specifically decides not to renew. The arrangement provides lenders assurance of the commitment between PowerSouth and its members since the contracts will always have at least 35 years remaining.

130

“This amendment helps PowerSouth maintain a high rating in future credit reviews, which ultimately translates into long-term financial benefits for PowerSouth and its member systems,” said Gary Harrison, President/CEO of Dixie EC and former Board Chairman. Financing has been key since PowerSouth’s beginning and has only grown in requirements for sophistication. “It’s important to have secure financing for the future as we expand to meet our growing base load,” said Rick Kyle, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. “Maintaining a stable credit rating keeps us from having to lean on governmentbacked financing and has helped establish us as a solid company.”


The cooperative changes its name to PowerSouth Energy Cooperative. Five hundred employees work at nine locations in Alabama and Florida.

2008

The Air Quality Control project at the Charles R. Lowman Power Plant in Leroy, Alabama, is completed to meet increasingly stringent environmental regulations. It is the single largest modification project in the history of the cooperative.

Possibly even more complex than financing, the addition of environmental rules past, present and future mean additional work loads and costs for meeting each new standard. “Environmental regulations come faster than you can sort them out,” Smith said. “The number-one rule—after safety—is that the CEO does not go to jail to keep the lights on, so we comply with regulations.” And there are still more specialties requiring the highest levels of proficiency: replacing the expertise of retiring baby boomers, maintaining fuel diversity and forecasting power needs to assure future supplies. “We have to build for the future,” Smith said. “Today’s decisions have a ripple effect on the members, our employees and the communities we serve, making it imperative that PowerSouth act purposefully and in everyone’s best interests.”

Opposite page: Kent Ikner at the McIntosh Plant.

131


erative

Gary Smith: A Heart for the Coop

ying professional baseball, and As a kid, Gary Smith dreamed of pla ball, it seemed, at least for a while, when he was recruited for college th. that his dream was within arm’s leng so he set his sights on practicing “But I wasn’t any good,” he said, and d up being CEO of PowerSouth. law. He never imagined that he’d win

I’ve “Nothing I dreamed was this good. description,” he said.

been blessed beyond

the discipline he learned in He also couldn’t have imagined how business world. sports would be helpful to him in the ir job, and relying on somebody else to do the are you and job, r you ng doi ’re you “On a team, your abilities rather dency is to micromanage, to rely on that helps a lot here because the ten t you can’t lained. “After a while, you realize tha exp he ’s,” else e eon som in nce fide than have con y do it better.” do it all, and that others can actuall

way to Vice in 1989 as Staff Attorney, working his Smith began work with PowerSouth 2000. Affairs before being named CEO in President of Legal and Corporate

n’t have a fancy erSouth’s General Counsel. “He did “I hired Gary,” said Ted Jackson, Pow learner and savvy. Come to find out, he was a fast resume, but I felt like he had street between sn’t hide anything. The relationship doe He . him t trus ple peo And nt. very intellige never been stronger.” PowerSouth and our members has

Smith’s predecessor, James A. Vann, the Board and member systems.

132

rest in working with

Jr., noted that he had a heartfelt inte


Opposite page: Gary Smith. Left: Gary Smith presents James (Bo) Welcher with a commemorative coin during a Veterans Day celebration.

“He’s a sensitive person, bu

t more importantly,

he’s honest,” Vann said in

1999. “He doesn’t play

games with issues or pe

ople. He has worked hard to learn the busines s, and he believes in the mission of the cooperativ e.”

During his tenure, Smith

has focused on safety, me mber unity, fuel diversific economic development ation and throughout PowerSouth’ s service territory. He be lieves in providing his employees with ample resources, then getting out of the way so they ca Understanding that Powe n do their jobs. rSouth would not exist wi thout member support, he is a careful steward of the coopera tive’s finances. “I think a lot about those

needed and wanted,” he

money for a box of pape

times in the past when said. “People had to im

the cooperative didn’t ha

provise. There was a tim e

r clips, so you’d better sa

ve the ones you had. By

ve everything it when we didn’t have

the way, I always m in my desk. I don’t thr ow them away because I was raised ve ry poor. And we didn’t wa ste anything.” take the paper clips off

anything I read and put the

Horace Horn came to Po werSouth the same year Smith became CEO. “I don’t think we had an

PowerSouth was in 20

y idea where Gary would

00 and where we are

take us, when you look

now,” Horn said. “Gary

at where

was a perfect choice. He works very hard. He ’s bright. He always ma kes sure we remember the people that we serve, the people at th e end of the line. I don’t think anybody could be a better public power person. He has the hear t to be in this business.”

133


“Some of the finest people in the world work here” The challenges facing PowerSouth come and go, but the people stay. Even when the work is hard, PowerSouth employees have never been the quitting kind. “What has contributed to the cooperative’s longevity is the people,” said Beth Woodard, Vice President of Legal and Corporate Affairs. “Isn’t it amazing that at the beginning, the folks who started the co-op waited it out through a war? It would have been so easy to just forget about it and move on, but they kept moving forward.” “We have been blessed with people who are willing to work hard, work long hours and invest their whole lives in this company,” said Woodard. “That’s the norm. People come here and stay—even through terribly adverse circumstances. Our turnover rate is around 3 percent, and that is mostly because of retirements. People don’t leave.” Frank Hare said, “We took pride in the McWilliams plant. It had a red wax floor in it, and the floors below were waxed, too, even though they were plain concrete. But we’d sweep that big operating floor twice a week—so clean you could eat off it.” “We had a sense that ‘this is mine,’” said Herman Williams, retired Lowman Power Plant Manager. “I’m going to manage it and do it as if it was mine.” “A lot of good people work here. As a matter of fact, some of the finest people in the world work here,” said Charles Miller. “I always liked the work, but it was the people,” said Barbara Whitehead, retired Lowman Plant Secretary. “I’ve seen them get married, divorced, have children and now they have grandchildren. I’ve seen many of them go from boys to grandfathers.” 134


2011

January — McIntosh Units 4 and 5 become commercial.

McIntosh Power Plant.

135


The Energy Efficiency Loan Program is launched, providing low-interest loans for residential efficiency improvements.

2012

136

Administered by PowerSouth, the Energy Efficiency Rebate Program issues $699,000 in rebates for air source heat pumps, representing 2,346,616 kWhs in annual energy savings and an estimated 1,023 kW in winter demand savings.


The Energy Efficiency Loan Program is launched, providing low-interest loans for residential efficiency improvements.

2012

Administered by PowerSouth, the Energy Efficiency Rebate Program issues $699,000 in rebates for air source heat pumps, representing 2,346,616 kWhs in annual energy savings and an estimated 1,023 kW in winter demand savings.

The Mission Continues If Clarence “C.R.” Walker, founding member of Escambia River EC, could see PowerSouth today, he would be shocked by the complexity and changes in the utility industry. It’s a vastly different world than the 1930s when he went door to door promoting membership. “The complexity of this company has increased exponentially,” said Rick Kyle, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. “The technologies we use to generate electricity have changed. All the regulations have changed. The skills needed have changed.” Changes such as these are inevitable in the 21st century, but PowerSouth’s history of innovation, problem solving, perseverance and financial discipline give the cooperative an advantage in surmounting obstacles in the path of growth.

Linemen Michael Murphy (left) and Heath Williamson working on transmission lines.

137


2013

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signs the Utility Worker Protection Act, expanding the protection of utility workers from threats while performing official duties.

However, as the ever-evolving electric industry grows, the fundamental process of generating and delivering electricity remains remarkably similar to that of Walker’s day. It is a fact not lost on Ted Jackson.

Ted Jackson has served as PowerSouth’s General Counsel since 1984.

138

“There are so many things that could go wrong in an industry as highly complex as this—and they do sometimes,” Jackson said. “But the amazing thing is that the basic system works pretty well.” Likewise, the traditional cooperative business model is thriving. “When I started here, I needed a job, but I quickly embraced the nonprofit nature of a cooperative,” said Damon Morgan. “Today, I don’t come to work thinking of it as a job—I come thinking of it as a path for me to serve people. These local communities raised me, and I get to use my gifts to give back to them.” Morgan’s ideals are shared by PowerSouth’s member systems, who consider it PowerSouth’s obligation and privilege to serve its customers. In 2016, the mission continues, the same mission and motivating factor that drove Walker to campaign in favor of a utility cooperative all those years ago.


Stitches in Time When Relay Technician Charles Miller retired in 2007, his sister-in-law, Shirley Langford, snagged a sack of his old work shirts to use as quilting

scraps.

me my quilt was almost “The next thing I know, Shirley told a quilt!” said Miller. made. I didn’t even know I was getting

chine-stitching Miller’s In all, Shirley spent two months ma than 30 years of shirts together, representing more ted working in 1969 employment with PowerSouth. He star ent, then transferred as a helper in the metering departm two areas were divided. to the relay department when the know so much about Back then, he never dreamed he’d electricity.

our first refrigerator “I remember getting electricity, and said. “It had a when I was in the second grade,” he drive. I’d lay there at compressor and a motor and a belt ce on it and I’d hear it night and that belt had a frayed pla get cool and switch off. go ttk, ttk, ttk, ttk, ttk…and then it’d helping bring I never dreamed that one day I’d be electricity to others.”

139


2014

January 7 — Record-breaking cold weather across the nation contributes to an all-time system peak of 2,400 megawatts. This leads to $11 million in additional energy costs and $17 million in additional demand revenue for PowerSouth. “Our temperatures got down to the midteens and stayed below freezing for 30 some-odd hours,” said Tim Hattaway, Energy Control Center Manager. “We bought power to make up for the deficit from our generators that had parts freezing up and going offline. It was the most we had ever spent on purchased power in that short of a time period.”

“We tried to sell cooperative membership using good things like running water and cooling systems,” Walker said in a 2001 interview. “Many rural folks were desperate for lights, but they were accustomed to the kerosene lamps so they didn’t accept change real quickly. “But we were dedicated,” he said. “We believed in the electric cooperative movement, but no one really ever realized what good times we would have.” Those good times started with a dam. And a lumber company. And they continue today, 75 years later, with a cooperative that continues to meet each challenge with innovative, thoughtful solutions that work. For PowerSouth, the future is bright.

PowerSouth Headquarters main entrance.

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Inset: Artist’s rendering of Headquarters Building 2 construction, slated for completion in 2016. This is phase 4 of a campus improvement project that began in 2011.


2015

AT-A-GLANCE 8,433,291 MWH Total Sales

2,372 MW System Peak Demand

$622,941,704 Operating Revenue

$611,773,833 Expenses

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MITCHELL ALEXANDER • FRANKLIN ANDERSON • HEATHER ANDERSON • JASON ANDERSON • STEVIE ANDERSON • JOE ARMSTRONG MICHAEL ARMSTRONG • JOHN ARNOLD • JAMES ARRINGTON • KIMBERLY ARRINGTON • THOMAS AVERILL • STEVEN AYERS • KENNETH BAGGETT SUZY BAKER • JAMES BALLARD • MICHAEL BALLARD • RACHEL BALLARD • CLAYTON BAREFOOT • MICHAEL BARTON • JAMES BATLEY JOSEPH BAXLEY • JAMES BAYLES • MITCHELL BEASLEY • DARYL BECK • ROBERT BECKHAM • TERRY BEDSOLE • WINDELL BEDWELL • JIMMY BEECH GREGORY BENNETT • TRACEY BENNETT • EDWARD BENTLEY • DENNIS BEVERLY • JOSEPH BEVERLY • JOSHUA BEVERLY • JONATHAN BISHOP JOSHUA BLACKBURN • MICHAEL BLACKLEDGE • WANDA BLACKMON • MICHAEL BLOCKER • WILLIAM BLOUNT • PAMELA BOND • STEVEN BOOTH COURTNEY BOWERS • KIMBERLY BOWERS • WILLIAM BOYD • CINDY BOZEMAN • DEBRA BRACEWELL • WILLIAM BRACEWELL • TIMOTHY BRACKE HELEN BRADLEY • CAROL BRAY • KEVIN BRELAND • HARVEY BRENTS • WILLIAM BREWER • WILTON BROCK • JENNIFER BROOKS • SCOTT BROOKS CLIFTON BROWN • DANIEL BROWN • ARTHUR BRUNSON • GREGORY BRUNSON • BRADLEY BRYAN • CORY BRYAN • KEVIN BRYAN • FRED BRYANT IRA BRYANT • VANN BUMPERS • JEFFERY BUNDRICK • JASON BUSBY • WILLIAM BUSBY • DELORES BUSH • GREGORY BUSH • MATTHEW BUSH PHILIP BUSH • RICHARD BUTTS • MICHAEL BYRD • TERRY CALDWELL • DOUGLAS CAMPBELL • TRACEY CANANT • CHRISTOPHER CARAWAY TUNDE CARAWAY • DAWN CARNLEY • LYNDA CARNLEY • STACY CARPENTER • TIFFANY CARRIGAN • GABRIEL CARTEE • CLAY CARTER MICHAEL CASSADY • KEITH CASTLEBERRY • THEODORE CENTNER • JOSEPH CHANDLER • RONNIE CHAPMAN • SCOTTY CHASTAIN • REGINALD CHESTANG MARTY CHESTEEN • KENNETH CLARKE • NICHOLAS CLELAND • CHRISTOPHER CLEMENTS • WILLIAM COBB • RICHARD COCHRAN BENNY JO COCKRELL • COLBY COHRON • DUSTIN COKER • CHRISTOPHER COLEMAN • AMY COLVIN • RICHARD COOK • JOEY COOPER ERIC COPELAND • CHERYL COTTON • KENNETH COUNSELMAN • RICHARD COXWELL • EDITH CRAFT • MARK CRAIG • HEATHER CRAVEY LISA CRAVEY • MARCUS CRISWELL • SHERRY CRISWELL • ANGELA CRITTENDEN • VICKIE CROFT • LAMAR CROWE • PAIGE CULBRETH • LARRY CURRY DIANNE CURRY • JEFFERY DANFORD • MICHAEL DAUPHIN • CALVIN DAVENPORT • JOHN DAVIS • OTHO DAVIS • RICHARD DAVIS • JOSEPH DAY MARK DAYTON • JOHN DEAN • DERICK DEARMON • PERRY DEARMON • THOMAS DEAS • DANIEL DEES • THOMAS DEFEE • MARILYN DENSON MATTHEW DIAMOND • JAMES DILLARD • LISA DODD • DAVID DOGGETT • ROBERT DONALDSON • JAMES DOWLING • CATHERINE DUBOSE HUNTER DUBOSE • JAMES DUBOSE • JOHNATHAN DUBOSE DUSTIN DUNAGAN • CHRISTOPHER DUNBAR • JAMES DUNN • LARRY DUNN BELINDA DUNN • CHARLEE DUNN • CHARLES DUTTON • MICHAEL DYESS • LINDA EASTMAN • ERICKA ECHOLS • DIANE EDGAR • DANA ELLIOTT CORY ELLIS • JONATHAN ELLISON • BENJAMIN ELMORE • DAVIS ELMORE • MARK ELMORE • RANDY ELMORE • STEPHEN ERDY JEFFERY ETHEREDGE • CHARLIE ETHERIDGE • WILLIAM EVERS • J.J. FARRINGTON • JAMES FLEMING • DAVID FLOOD • JOHN FLOYD TAMMY FOLEY • JOHN FORE • KELLEY FORE • JIMMY FOSHEE • JOHN FOSHEE • MATTHEW FOWLER • LARECIA FOWLER • KEVIN FREENEY GILMER GAMMAGE • MARION GANTT • PATRICIA GATLIN • LAUREL GERMAN • ROBERT GILLEY • MICHAEL GLENN • GREGORY GOLDMAN JOHN GOLDMAN • MICHAEL GOLDMAN • WILLIAM GOLDMAN • DAVID GOMILLION • AMY GOODSON • CALEB GOODWYN • DONNA GORUM JEFFREY GORUM • WILLIAM GRAHAM • NICHOLAS GRANA • LEIGH GRANTHAM • STEVEN GRIFFIN • JAMES GRIMES • MELVIN GRIMES VIRGINIA GRIMES • STEPHEN GRISSETT • SUZANNE GRISSETT • JAMES GUILFORD • CHARLES GUNTER • RALPH GUNTER • ALVIN GUY BRANDON HALL • TERRY HALL • CARL HAM • MILES HAMMAC • SETH HAMMETT • MARION HAMMONDS • LISA HANEY • KENNETH HARBUCK HOWARD HARDAGE • JEREMY HARDY • RODGER HARE • MICHAEL HARKINS • RUSSELL HARPER • GARY HARRELL • JAMES HARRELL • MARK HARRELL SUZANNE HARRELL • JAMES HARRELSON • PERCY HARRIS • THOMAS HARRISON • WAYNE HARRISON • CHRISTOPHER HARWELL • JAMES HATTAWAY MICHAEL HATTAWAY • JAMES HAWKINS • JASON HAWKINS • MORGAN HAYES • JAMES HELMS • DELANA HENAGAN • ANTHONY HENDERSON ARCHIE HENDERSON • CHAD HENDERSON • HUBERT HENDERSON • RONNIE HENDRIX • ELVIS HENNIS • ERIC HICKS • MARVIN HICKS JOSHUA HILBURN • BRENT HINDS • STEVEN HINOTE • JAMES HOGG • SAMUEL HOGG • KIMBERLY HOLLINGHEAD • KIMBERLY HOPKINS DYLAN HOPPER • BRANDON HORN • HORACE HORN • WINSTON HORTON • CHRISTOPHER HOUK • NORMAN HOWARD • W.B. HOWARD CURNICE HOWELL • EDDIE HOWELL • LEON HOWELL • DIANE HOWELL • MICHAEL HUDSON • THOR HUEBNER • AMY HUGHES • ROBBY HUNT ROBERT IKNER • CARSE JACKSON • CECIL JACKSON • CHARLES JACKSON • SHERRY JACKSON • WILLIE JACKSON • EDWARD JAMES CHAD JENKINS • KIMBERLY JOHNS • DERRICK JOHNSON • DOROTHY JOHNSON • JOHN JOHNSON • KATHLEEN JOHNSON • TRACY JOHNSON WILLIAM JOHNSON • ANDREW JONES • BINION JONES • BRIAN JONES • BRYAN JONES • CECIL JONES • JACOB JONES • JAMES JONES • JILL JONES


KENNETH JONES • MARTHA JONES • RUSSELL JONES • THOMAS JONES • PAUL KARR • RUSSELL KEITH • JENNIFER KELLEY • JIM KELLEY RANDY KELLEY • RITA KELLEY • ANGELA KELLY • TOMMY KERVIN • THOMAS KIDD • DUSTIN KILCREASE • CARLTON KILLINGSWORTH GEORGE KILPATRICK • CATHY KING • KELLY KING • NORMA KING • TIMOTHY KING • WILLIAM KING • RONDA KIRKLAND • ROBERT KYLE MARCUS KYZAR • ASA LANDON • JOHN LANIER • DARRELL LATHAN • JONAS LATHAN • CONNIE LAWRENCE • KENNETH LEE • NIGEL LEE LINDA LINTON • ROBERT LITTLE • TINA LITTLE • JAMES LONG • GEORGE LOPER • JOHN LOPER • TERI LOWERY • SHEP LUCAS • ROBERT LYNCH BRETT MACK • JOHNNY MACK • MICHAEL MAJORS • GEORGE MANGUS • DILAN MANRING • MAYNARD MANNING • DEBRA MARCUM BILLY MARLER • JAMES MARLEY • DALE MARTIN • WILLIAM MARTIN • TIM MATEN • JOHN MATHESON • KIMBERLY MCBRIDE • SCOTTIE MCBRIDE PATRICK MCCALMAN • JESSIE MCCONICO • DAVID MCDUFFIE • MATTHEW MCINTYRE • BOWEN MCKATHAN • ROBERT MCLAURIN WILLIAM MCVAY • MICHAEL MERRILL • JUSTIN MESSICK • TIMOTHY MESSICK • TRESA MIDDLETON • DOYLE HEATH MILLS • DOYLE WAYNE MILLS JOHN MILSTEAD • KENNETH MITCHELL • MICHAEL MITCHELL • DEIDRA MONIGAN • BRUCE MONK • CHARLES MOORE • RONALD MOORE MARK MORGAN • CHRISTOPHER MOSELEY • EDDIE MOSELEY • MADISON MOSELEY • SCOTTY MOSELEY • ALFRED MOSLEY • ALEX MOUNT JOSHUA MULLEN • RODNEY MULLINS • HERMAN MURPHY • JAMES MURPHY • JAMES MURPHY II • KIM NAWLIN • ANGELA NELSON • JOHN NELSON TRACEY NELSON • MINNIE NICHOLS • JOHN NIXON • TOM NOBLE • DAVID NORRIS • JONATHAN NORRIS • HARRISON OBENHOFER JULIE O’CONNOR • STEVEN ODOM • ROBERT O’GUYNN • DENNIS O’NEAL • BARRY ORSO • RAYMOND PACE • CAROL PAGE • MICHAEL PAGE BRYAN PANSING • BRYAN PARKER • ANDREW PARNELL • WILSON PATRICK • GEORGE PATTERSON • GERALD PATTERSON • JUDSON PATTERSON DWIGHT PAUL • WILLIAM PAUL • DAVID PEARCE • JARROD PETTIE • BERT PETTIS • DANIEL PHILLIPS • LLOYD PHILLIPS • MARK PHILLIPS • SAM PHILLIPS MARCUS PIPPIN • DONNIE PITTS • MICHAEL POLLOCK • STANLEY POOLE • DAVID POWELL • JARED POWELL • JOHN POWELL • FRED PRINGLE JAMES PUGH • MARCUS PUGH • DAVID PURVIS • DEANDRA PYRON • ANDREW RABREN • JAMES RAMER • WILLIAM RAMEY • BRIAN REEVES JOEY REEVES • ROBERT REEVES • WILLIAM REID • JASON RENNER • K.D. REYNOLDS • GEORGE RHODES • MELISSA RHODES • DONALD RICHARDSON MICHAEL RICHARDSON • LANE RIDER • RUSSELL RIGDON • REGINALD RILEY • WESLEY ROBERTSON • JOHN ROBINSON • JEREMY ROGERS MORGAN ROGERS • WILLIAM ROGERS • MARK RUDD • BRENDA RUSSELL • AMY RYLAND • CORY RYLAND • BRIAN SALTER • RYAN SANDERS TRACY SANDERS • BRIAN SANDERSON • ASHLEY SASSER • DAVID SCOTT • CHRISTI SCRUGGS • LANIE SELLS • AUBREY SERPAS • WILLIAM SEXTON JOHN SHAW • CARL SHERROUSE KENNETH SHIVER • JOSEPH SHORT • JOSHUA SIGHTLER • JOYCE SIGHTLER • RUSSELL SIKES • MICKEY SIMMONS TRACY SIMPLER • COLTON SIMS • WILZY SIMS • JONATHAN SINGLETON • JUSTIN SLOAT • CEIL SMITH • CHRISTOPHER SMITH • DARRELL SMITH DONOVAN SMITH • DOROTHY SMITH • EMILY SMITH • FRED SMITH • GARY SMITH • JAMES SMITH • MARISA SMITH • MAXWELL SMITH MICHAEL SMITH • RAYMOND SMITH • RENEE SMITH • THOMAS SMITH • TOMMY SMITH • PHILLIP SPIVEY • KIMBERLY SPRINGER • SKIPPER SPURLIN NICHOLAS STEADHAM • JASON STEARNS • ANNA STEPHENS • KEITH STEPHENS • STEVEN STEPHENSON • MICHAEL STEWART • HARRY STINSON MARSHALL STOCKTON • ELIZABETH STOKES • EARL STRONG • CHARLES SULLIVAN • TIM SULLIVAN • JERROLD SYPHRIT • DAVID TARPLEY BENJAMIN TAYLOR • DANNY TAYLOR • JAMES C. TAYLOR • JAMES E. TAYLOR • PAUL TAYLOR • ROBERT TAYLOR • SIOBHAN TEEL • WILLIAM THIGPEN KIMBERLY THOMAS • TRAVIS THOMAS • BYRON THOMASSON • KYLE THOMASSON • CASEY THOMPSON • KENNETH THOMPSON • PATRICK THRASH WILLIAM THRASH • LESLIE THREADGILL • CHRISTOPHER TILLMAN • JAMIE TODD • ALBERT TURNER • AMY TURNER • BRENDA TURNER CAROLYN TURNER • JOHN TURVIN • JOHN TWITTY • MELISSA VEASEY • BENNIE VICK • RUSSELL VICKERY • JAMES WADE • JAMES WAITE MATHEW WALDEN • DAVID WALKER • HENRY WALLACE • JOHN WALLACE • VERONICA WALLACE • BAYNARD WARD • BRIAN WARD • JIM WARR JAMES WARRICK • MICHAEL WATSON • WILLIE WATSON • WILLIAM WEAVER • CHERYL WEEKS • VICKEY WEEKS • LESLIE WEEMS • JAMES WELCHER WALTER WEST • TIMOTHY WHATLEY • ROBERT WHITE • BETH WHITEHURST • ANTHONY WHITMAN • JOHN WIGGINS • LISA WIGGINS TABITHA WIGGINS • CALEB WILLIAMS • MILTON WILLIAMS • NANCY WILLIAMS • ROBERT WILLIAMS • ROY WILLIAMS • STEPHANIE WILLIAMS TAYLOR WILLIAMS • THOMAS WILLIAMS • WILLIE WILLIAMS • GERALD WILLIAMSON • LISA WILLIAMSON • MICHAEL WILLIAMSON • ANDREW WILSON BEVERLY WILSON • CRAIG WILSON • JOHNNY WILSON • TERRY WILSON • FLOYD WOOD • ELIZABETH WOODARD • WANDA WOODS SCOTT WRIGHT • DAVID WYATT • JUAN WYATT • GEORGE YOUNGE


It Changed Everything: PowerSouth's First 75 Years  

Written by Heidi T. King Designed by Charity Myers, The Creative Pool Design