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Front Lines TO Power Lines

From the

November & December 2017 Vol. 21 • No. 2

Page 7

Growing Up Co-op Vol. XXI No. II November & December 2017

Board of Trustees

Gary Fulford

Albert Thomas

Catherine Bethea

District 6

District 7

District 5


Vice President

Secretary - Treasurer

Junior Smith

Bobby Dodd

Donnie Waldrep

George Webb

Johnny Edwards

Elmer Coker

District 1

District 4

District 2

District 8

District 3

District 9

TCEC Staff

Julius Hackett, Chief Executive Officer Jeff Brewer, Manager of Engineering Stephanie Carroll, Manager of Corporate Services Eileen Herndon, Executive Assistant Darrell Tuten, Manager of Operations Wendell Williams, Manager of Finance Tri-County Rural Living, the voice of your member-owned electric cooperative, is published bimonthly — more if necessary — at no subscription cost to the membership. The publication team is comprised of TCEC employees in partnership with Madison Media Group. Postage is paid at Blountstown, Fla.

Publication Team

Julius Hackett, Chief Executive Officer Eileen Herndon, Executive Assistant Kaitlynn Culpepper, Community Relations Specialist


Madison Media Group Michael Curtis & Staff

I love the feeling of being able to walk into my favorite locally-owned shop, restaurant or store knowing that the profit, product and labor can make positive impacts on my community. The spirit of main street is embodied in these local Julius Hackett, CEO businesses, just like it is in Tri-County Electric Cooperative (TCEC). Electric cooperatives are as local and community-centered as they come. Founded as a way to bring electricity to communities that didn’t interest investor-owned utilities (IOUs), electric cooperatives have been a cornerstone of community and economic development in rural America and beyond for decades. That feeling I get when I frequent local businesses in our community is the same feeling I get when I walk into work at the co-op every day. It is a feeling of pride. I am proud to be a part of an organization that serves the community in which we live, instead of a group of shareholders who may never have set foot in our service territory. Living on co-op lines is more than just knowing there are people out there working to bring you safe, reliable and affordable electric service; living on co-op lines is an investment in our community and its members. And because we are owned by you, our members, we have a vested interest in making sure our community is prosperous. We do this by investing in economic development and community service projects and programs. I hope that you view TCEC not just as your electric utility provider, but as a local business that brings pride and prosperity to our community. If you are interested in learning more about how we keep the lights on and beyond, please stop by the co-op or give us a call. We love being a part of this community, and we hope you feel the same way too! 16777002

Tri-County Electric Cooperative 2862 West US 90 Madison, FL 32340 1-800-999-2285


November & December 2017

Trustee Malcolm V. Page Retires After 24 Years of Service Malcolm V. Page retired from the Tri-County Electric Cooperative board of trustees in September after completing his final three-year term. A representative of District 8 from Perry, Mr. Page served on the board for 24 years. He kept up to date on the constantly changing electric industry by attending formal training through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and Florida Electric Cooperatives Associations, and earned his Credentialed Cooperative Director certification and Board Leadership Certificate, and most recently he was recognized for earning

Trustees at the Annual Meeting giving a final farewell to retiring trustee Malcolm V. Page: (L to R) retiring trustee Malcolm Page, D-5 trustee Catherine Bethea, D-6 trustee Gary Fulford, incoming D-8 trustee Johnny Edwards, D-9 trustee Elmer Coker and D-3 trustee Donnie Waldrep.

Johnny Edwards, New District 8 Trustee Johnny Edwards is the newest member of the TCEC Board of Trustees and represents District 8, which includes the communities of Shady Grove, Boyd, Eridu, Nutall Rise and Perry. He was elected during the 77th Annual Meeting after being nominated by the members during the District 8 meeting held in July. Johnny is a lifelong resident of Taylor County and lives in Perry with his wife, Victoria. Johnny has worked for 27 years for Georgia Pacific at the Foley Mill where he is the Mechanical Coordinator for the Drying, Finishing and Line 3 departments. Although employed full time he is looking forward to beginning his work as trustee on the board representing the members of TCEC. November & December 2017

his Director Gold Certificate. Mr. Page has represented electric cooperatives locally, regionally and nationally. He was elected President of TCEC board in 2002 and continued in the position until 2015. He served on the board of directors of the Florida Electric Cooperatives Association and board of trustees of Seminole Electric Cooperative, serving as President of the Seminole Electric Cooperative board from March 2012 until March 2015. He and his wife, Bettie, reside in Perry, where he raises Angus cows. In addition to his serving on the TCEC board, he also serves on the Board of County Commissioners for Taylor County. Mr. Page was dedicated to the members of the cooperative. We wish him much happiness during his retirement and thank him for his 24 years of service.

Welcome Zack Sprenkle to the TCEC Family! TCEC is excited to have Zack Sprenkle on the co-op team as of July 2017! Zack is the newest tree trimmer for the co-op. Members may recognize him as the 2015 FHSAA 1A Weight Lifting State Champion during his time at Madison County High School. In his free time Zack enjoys playing softball on the team Borderline, and hanging out with his friends and girlfriend. Zack says his favorite part about working at TCEC is getting to learn about the electric grid infrastructure and how it all works together. Fun Fact: Zack is also a new dad — to a sevenmonth-old Siberian husky named Nanuk.


Hurricane Irma No Match for Florida Co-op Power Restoration and Annual Meeting, Too By NRECA Staff Writer Derrill Holly Hurricane Irma knocked 90 percent of Florida’s Tri-County Electric Cooperative’s meters offline, but that didn’t disrupt plans for the co-op’s 77th annual meeting, thanks to a lot of cooperative help. Just five days after the storm’s winds plowed through, more than 500 members and their families filled a high school gym to nearly standing-room-only capacity. Meeting attendance was the co-op’s second-highest ever, eclipsed only by the 2016 gathering, which occurred two weeks after Hurricane Hermine knocked out 12,000 meters. “With 16,000 meters without power, we made the decision to continue with our meeting while restoring electricity as quickly as possible,” said Kaitlynn Culpepper, community relations specialist for the Madison-based distribution co-op. “Neighboring co-ops’ office employees volunteered to come over and help us set up and staff it.” “Talquin Electric Cooperative and Seminole Electric Cooperative, our generation and transmission cooperative, sent

member services and communication crews,” said Culpepper. “With their help, we were able to give our community a day of fun and fellowship after a week of very trying circumstances.” Lisa Johnson, Seminole’s CEO and General Manager, underscored that “with all the extra time our member co-ops’ employees were putting in to restore their members’ service, it was the least we could do.” The Tampa-based G&T serves power to nine distribution co-ops — all hit by Irma — in 42 Florida counties. Talquin EC, headquartered in nearby Quincy, completed restoration work to more than 32,000 of its meters with mutual aid in two days. Immediately afterwards, TEC sent line crews to several other Florida co-ops. Cindy Brandon, Talquin EC’s coordinator of payroll and taxes, was among 15 employees who helped Tri-County with its annual meeting. “I can’t help another co-op restore power, but this is a way

Talquin Electric Cooperative


November & December 2017

that I can personally give back,” she said. Family members of the co-op’s beleaguered staff filled many key annual meeting support roles. “Volunteering to help was the least I could do to show appreciation for all their hard work,” said Bubba Carroll. His wife, Stephanie Carroll, is the co-op’s manager of corporate services and worked long hours at the co-op’s headquarters throughout the restoration effort. “If it meant it would help get my wife and all of the men and women who have been working around the clock home one minute sooner, I was ready to do it,” said Carroll, who shuttled members from the parking lot to the gym in a golf cart and directed traffic before and after the meeting. Members, including some who were in shelters days before or just returning from inland evacuation sites, filled the bleachers and every seat on the gym floor Sept. 16. “We were wondering if this annual meeting was too much to bite off,” Julius Hackett, the co-op’s CEO, told the crowd, before giving them the good news: “Power to all TCEC meters was restored as of

Friday night, two days before our projected restoration time.” While all power had been restored, the co-op’s operations and engineering personnel were occupied with post-storm cleanup and unavailable for the meeting. “We have been coming to the Tri-County Annual Meeting for 20 years; it is always on our agenda,” said Jimmy Dixon (pictured below), a longtime member of the co-op who attended the meeting with his wife, Hilda. “After the hurricane, our power went out for about 15 hours and then again for 24 hours, but it was ok. There is nothing you can do but be patient. We [always] know y’all will get us back on soon.” Hackett praised the mutual aid crews from Texas, Mississippi, Missouri, Alabama, Florida and Tennessee that pitched in to help rebuild the lines, adding that volunteers at the annual meeting made a huge difference, too. “Mutual aid means more to co-ops than just going to assist during major events to help restore power,” said Tracy Bensley, General Manager of Talquin Electric Cooperative. “This is what cooperatives are all about. It is the cooperative way.”


Trinity River Band

Guest Speaker

Ladonna Gatlin

November & December 2017


Tri-County Electric Cooperative, Inc. Board Meeting Notes for Aug. 14, 2017

Tri-County Electric Cooperative, Inc. Board Meeting Notes for Sept. 11, 2017

With all trustees, key cooperative personnel, guests and the attorney present, the regular monthly meeting of the Board of Trustees of Tri-County Electric Cooperative, Inc. was held on Monday, Aug. 14, 2017, in the Tri-County Electric Cooperative, Inc. headquarters office building located at 2862 West US 90, Madison, Fla. Reports to the Board included the July 2017 FECA Summer Conference; Districts 7, 8 and 9 district meetings; and those of the Finance, Policy, Building and Land Committees; as well as that of the CEO. Action taken by the Board included the following: approval of the Aug. 14, 2017, Board Agenda and the July 10, 2017, Board Meeting Minutes; revised Policy 501, “Employee Conduct and Discipline”, and revised Policy 502, “Employee Dress Code”; Work Order (RUS Forms 219) for January 2017–March 2017; Acceptance of Bid for herbicide spraying application; adoption of a Resolution approving the Amendment and Restatement of the NRECA Retirement Security and 401(k) Plans. Other action taken by the Board included approval of Consent Agenda Items as written and recommended by the CEO, which included the WPCA for August 2017 as established by resolution; RUS Form 7 for June 2017; the list of new members for July 11–18, 2017; the Safety and Accident Report for June 2017 along with the System Outage Report. The CEO presented the Official Notice of Annual Meeting for the Secretary’s signature. Topics of discussion included upcoming events and safety-related incidents.

With all trustees, key cooperative personnel, and the attorney present, the regular monthly meeting of the Board of Trustees of Tri-County Electric Cooperative, Inc. was held on Monday, Sept. 11, 2017, in the Tri-County Electric Cooperative, Inc. headquarters office building located at 2862 West US 90, Madison, Fla. The CEO reported preliminary assessments indicated 90% of the Cooperative’s power system sustained damages as a result of Hurricane Irma passing through the region earlier in the day. Major outages included the Cooperative’s Steinhatchee and Monticello substations. Foreign aid crews had been dispatched and were expected to arrive within a day to help with power restoration efforts. Action taken by the Board included the following: approval of the new customers of Tri-County Electric Cooperative, Inc. who had applied for membership during the period of July 19–Aug. 21, 2017, and Aug. 21–Sept. 19, 2017, to be granted membership in the Cooperative; and adoption of a Resolution approving amendment to the Cooperative’s R & S Pension Plan. The CEO reported that plans were to proceed with the 77th Annual Meeting of the Cooperative as scheduled for Sept. 16, 2017, and without interruption to the ongoing power restoration efforts.

Gary Fulford Catherine Bethea President Secretary-Treasurer

Gary Fulford Catherine Bethea President Secretary-Treasurer


This Publication’s Inspirational Moment

The regular monthly meeting of the Board of Trustees of Tri‑County Electric Cooperative, Inc. will be held the second Monday in each month at 3:00 p.m. in the central office building of the Cooperative located at 2862 West U.S. 90, approximately two miles west of the city of Madison.

“God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” Numbers 23:19 (NLT)

HOLIDAY SCHEDULE REMINDER All Tri-County Electric offices will be closed Nov. 23 & 24 for Thanksgiving; Dec. 25 & 26 for Christmas; and Jan. 1, 2018, for New Year’s. We will have standby crews available for power restoration if needed. Please see “To Report Electrical Problems or Outages” on Page 11 of this newsletter. The TCEC staff and employees appreciate the honor of serving you and wish you peace and joy this Christmas, and the very best for the New Year.


November & December 2017

From the Electric co-ops have long had a special affinity for veterans. Perhaps because they are both so closely aligned in outlook, focusing on service, mission and country. Maybe it’s because a disproportionate number of veterans come from rural communities and return to their hometowns following active duty. Or, maybe it’s due to the shared work ethic of teamwork, cooperation and a “get it done” attitude. Most likely, it is all of the above. At TCEC we believe that Veterans Day is a time of celebration as well as an opportunity to say thank you for the service of all United States military veterans. We honor their sacrifices to help us retain the freedom we sometimes take for granted as American citizens. These brave men and women have put their own lives on the line to ensure that we have the freedoms that we enjoy every single day. And for that we are grateful.

Front Lines to Power Lines

Kevin Pryor, Field Service Representative and 26-year employee of TCEC. Kevin was a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army. His military career spanned 11 years and allowed him to travel all over the world. He was stationed throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. His active duty included Operation Desert Shield.

Marvin Johnston, System Operator and 6-year employee at TCEC. Marvin retired as a Sergeant Major in the U.S. Army after 25 years of service. During his career he was stationed in the United States, Germany, Japan and Vietnam. His active duty included the Vietnam War.

Wendell Williams, Finance Manager and 3-year employee of TCEC. Wendell served four years as a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force. During his military career he was stationed in Europe where he was in supplies management. November & December 2017



Meet Our

Supply Management Team This past September, Hurricane Irma blew through the region, leaving in her wake 90% of your co-op’s power system damaged. But our Materials Management Team was ready because weeks prior to the start of the 2017 storm season, they made sure that adequate materials were on hand in the event of a major storm. And by being prepared, our line crews were able to get to work providing prompt power restoration to our members after the storm. Mark Burnett is the purchasing agent at the co-op. He came to TCEC shortly after graduating high school and has held the position for 38 years. As purchasing agent, he is required to maintain close business relationships with our suppliers. He can tell from whom to purchase, how much to purchase, and when to time material purchases to keep costs down and eliminate shortages of materials in the coop warehouse. As you probably can guess, your electric co-op buys a lot of materials during the Michael Haynes is TCEC’s warehouseman and has been at the co-op for 16 years. After working on the right-of-way crew, he decided to try his hand in the warehouse. Now he’s a seasoned professional who is responsible for receiving, stocking and organizing the warehouse and materials yard. During a typical weekday, prior to the first cooperative truck pulling out of the gate, Michael is in the warehouse assembling materials and supplies specific to the day’s jobs. He is the first man to unload inventory from the trucks that arrive daily bringing materials and supplies to the co-op, and he is often seen on his forklift moving materials in the materials yard and warehouse. Due to the quantity of materials at TCEC, Michael must keep accurate inventory records, making sure the inventory is maintained at the proper level, which he manages to do in addition to all the other work he performs on a daily basis. When not at work, Michael can be found on the football field, where he’s an assistant coach for the Madison County Central School football team. His easygoing attitude and willingness to help others makes him a true asset to the co-op and the 8

year. Mark’s goal is to purchase the highest quality materials for the best price. In order for him to accomplish this, he considers the exact specifications of the items, quantity discounts, freight costs, and delivery times. Mark enjoys his work and the professional relationships he’s developed over the years with co-workers and business professionals who share common goals and values. “I have a lot of respect for my co-workers; they are like a second family to me, and we watch out for each other,” he says. 71002602001

community. His philosophy of hard work, combined with being kind to others, allows for amazing things to happen, and for those lucky enough to work with him, we couldn’t agree more. November & December 2017

TCEC Partners with Ability 1st to Build a Ramp Friday, Sept. 29, Tri-County Electric Cooperative employees partnered with Ability 1st to build a ramp for Ms. Barbara King, a resident of Madison County and TCEC member. This is the second ramp build project TCEC has partnered with Ability 1st to complete. Ability 1st is a public service organization that partners with businesses and civic groups to assist persons with disabilities in achieving or maintaining their level of independence. They receive all funds through United Way and individual donors Kevin Pryor, TCEC Field Service Representative, met Ms. King several years ago during his time as a meter reader. After her husband passed, Kevin and his wife have been doing what they can to help Ms. King keep up around her home. It became increasingly difficult for Ms. King to come and go from her home due to her declining health. Kevin knew how much easier it would be for her if she had a ramp and became determined to find a way to get one built for her, even if he had to do it himself. Ms. King was able to get approved for a ramp and landing deck through Ability 1st, who works with local retailers to purchase the materials needed at a lower cost. Through Ability 1st and TCEC employee donations, the deck and ramp were installed at no cost to Ms. King. According to Eric with Ability 1st, “the fiscal year 2017 for Ability 1st ended Saturday, Sept. 30, with the completion of the 130th Accessibility Construction Build. This accomplishment

is a state, if not a national record for any Center for Independent Living (CIL). The program’s success is only possible by the numerous volunteer groups that serve within the Ability 1st service area.” If you or your organization is interested in volunteering with Ability 1st, call (850) 575-9621.

(L to R) Angela Eastabrooks, Stephanie Carroll, Kyle Fox, Antonio Richardson, Cody Holden, Seth Ragans, Clint Nash, Josh Thomas, Jeff Brewer, Ms. King, and Kevin Pryor. (Not pictured: Chad Mitchell)

AUTUMN CROSSWORD PUZZLE Autumn is finally here! Complete the crossword puzzle by filling in the Autumn words that fit the clues. If you need help, use the word bank at the bottom of the page. ACROSS 2. Fruit you bob for. 3. This is a fun outing that usually takes place in autumn and can be enjoyed from a wagon, truck or trailer — as long as it’s filled with hay. 5. These are orange and can be carved to decorate your home during Halloween. 6. These change colors during autumn months. DOWN 1. These fall from oak trees and squirrels love to collect them. 4. This is what most people eat on Thanksgiving Day.

November & December 2017


Energy Efficiency and Conservation Tips from Tri-County Electric Cooperative It is never too early or too late in the year to start preparing your home with energy efficiency initiatives that will result in greater comfort and cost savings. Tri-County Electric Coop has provided several energy efficiency suggestions below. When implemented correctly, these items will save you money throughout the year. Check windows and doors for leaks. Caulking, weather stripping, and insulation help seal gaps and keep designated air in your home. Uncontrolled air leaks can add 10–20% on annual heating and cooling bills. Maintain your HVAC/Heat Pump unit. Routine maintenance insures that you will be warm in the winter and cool in the summer while keeping your energy bills affordable. Remember to replace your HVAC/HP filter every six weeks for optimal performance. Additionally, if you can set your thermostat from 68 to 70 degrees in the winter and from 78 to 80 degrees in the summer, for eight hours a day, you can save up to 10% annually on your heating and cooling bills. Check the over and under of your home. One of your best bets for saving money and energy is to inspect your ductwork to make sure it is sound. Collapsed connections, tears, animal damage, and gaps can leak conditioned air into unused spaces. Save money with LEDs. Replace your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with LEDs that have earned an Energy Star rating. ENERGY STAR-qualified LEDs use only 20–25% of the energy and last up to 25 times longer than the traditional incandescent bulbs they replace. LEDs use 25–30% of the energy and last 8 to 25 times longer than halogen incandescent bulbs. By replacing older, inefficient

bulbs, you will save money in the winter and keep your home cooler in the summer. Replace old appliances with Energy Star. Do you ever wonder how much you could save each year with more efficient appliances? Check out the ENERGY STAR website, which highlights products that exceed the federal minimum standards for efficiency. To support TCEC’s energy efficiency efforts, Seminole Electric Cooperative, our wholesale power provider, has produced and shared several energy efficiency and conservation videos to help you save money through energy efficiency. Visit to view these videos.

Find Your Hidden Account Number & Get a $150 Bill Credit! Hidden somewhere in this issue of Tri-County Rural Living are two member account numbers. Look carefully, one might be yours. If you find your account number exactly as it appears on your bill for electric service, we’ll credit your bill up to the amount of $150!* You have until Dec. 31, 2017, to claim your credit by calling Carol Timmons at (850) 973-2285, Ext. 203, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. You must contact the TCEC representative before the deadline to collect your prize. Congratulations to last issue’s winner: B. M. Hudson * Total credit on bill will not exceed $150.00. This one-time credit is valid only on the current balance. Any balance remaining after the $150.00 applied credit is the member’s responsibility.


November & December 2017

Texas Chocolate Cake This month’s recipe is courtesy of TCEC Trustee Mrs. Catherine Bethea (District 5). Those of us lucky enough to have sampled a piece of this cake agree it could possibly be the best chocolate cake recipe around. With simple ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions, this cake is our pick for the next church dinner! CAKE 1. Sift/stir together in large bowl: 2 cups sugar 2 cups self-rising flour 2. Melt in pan or microwave and bring to a boil: 1 stick butter ½ cup oil 4 tablespoons cocoa 1 cup water 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional) 3. Stir boiled mixture into flour and sugar. 4. Add to the above mixture and stir: ½ cup buttermilk 2 beaten eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla

5. Pour in greased and floured 8x16 or 11x16 pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. FROSTING 1. Mix together and bring to a boil: 1 stick butter 6 tablespoons milk (canned or table cream is fine) 4 tablespoons cocoa 2. Remove from heat and add: 1 box powdered sugar (3½ cups) sifted 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup chopped pecans Spread frosting over hot cake immediately (add more milk or powdered sugar as needed).

If the holiday season is nudging you toward good

deeds, consider giving the

Gift of Light

a special gift that will provide an electric bill credit for the co-op member of your choice. Let us remember that the Christmas heart is a giving heart. A wide open heart that thinks of others first. Ask one of our Member Service Representatives for more information about the perfect Christmas gift . November & December 2017

Energy Efficiency Tip of the Month Spending more time in the kitchen during the holiday season? Here’s one way to be more energy efficient: Unplug small kitchen appliances, like toast ovens and microwaves, when not in use. You could save $10 to $20 per year. Source: U.S. Dept. of Energy

To Report Electrical Problems or Outages Please Call:

850-973-2285 or 1-800-999-2285 24-HOUR SERVICE THANK YOU


Tri-County Electric Cooperative, Inc. 2862 West US 90 Madison, FL 32340

Tri-County Rural Living Nov Dec 2017  
Tri-County Rural Living Nov Dec 2017