Macon County Chronicle

Tri-County Electric Celebrates 75th Anniversary

After decades of hard work and technological strides, Tri-County Electric looks back on the last 75 years as they celebrate this milestone anniversary at the Annual Members Meeting in Tompkinsville, Kentucky on Thursday May 5th, 2011, with registration to begin at 5:30 p.m. that afternoon. The primitive days have come and gone, and the present and the future are in the hands of young leaders with a new commitment to excellence—people connected from Will Hall Sullivan to Paul Thompson.

“We’ve experienced a lot of changes during the past 75 years,” said Tri-County Executive Vice President & General Manager, Paul Thompson, as he began highlighting the history of the cooperative, “and thanks to Will Hall Sullivan, who wasted little time, he founded Tri-County Electric in 1936, after President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Rural Electric Administration, to bring electricity to rural America.”

“On Christmas Eve, 1937, the first 85 miles were energized,” Thompson continued, “and in 1939, Tri-County purchased the holdings of the Tennessee Electric Power Company, which included lines in Celina, Tennessee. The 1940 purchase of the Cumberland Public Service Company expanded Tri-County’s service area to include Burkesville, Tompkinsville and Edmonton, Kentucky. A portion of The Kentucky-Tennessee Light and Power Company was purchased by Tri-Co. in 1942 allowing us to serve the Scottsville, Ky., area and acquisition of this area brought our membership to 7,000 in 1943.”

“Tri-Co. has experienced consistent growth over the years, and our wholesale power is supplied by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). We currently have 17 substations and over 5,400 miles of distribution line, covering a service area of roughly 1,800 square miles, in all or part of the following counties: Allen, Cumberland, Metcalfe, Monroe, Adair, Barren, Clinton and Warren in Kentucky; and Macon, Clay, Trousdale, Sumner, Jackson, Overton and Smith in Tennessee. We are the fifth largest cooperative in Kentucky or Tennessee and provide a wide-range of services to our 56,061 members-owners.”

Although there are many areas Thompson emphasizes in his list of achievements for the corporation, he believes that there are two that stand out: “In the fall of 2002, Tri-County Electric became the first cooperative in Tennessee or Kentucky to implement an automated meter reading system. By using this as a foundation for technology and advancement we’ve also installed a digital mapping system, along with an outage management system, which allows us to direct our service workers to the area and verify the problem.”

“The second focus began as an effort to provide severe weather notification to the cooperative’s rural, unserved area and resulted in Tri-County Electric being awarded the prestigious Mark Trail Award by the National Weather Service in 2004. We worked very hard to secure a NOAA Weather Radio Transmitter to provide our member-owners the technology that would warm them of the possibility of severe weather, Amber Alerts, and other alerts deemed important enough to be issued by the government.”

“We believe our dedication to the communities we serve,” said Board members Ray Goad and Jack Osgatharp, along with Tammy Dixon, “through economic development and scholarship programs and support of civic organizations, coupled with a continued commitment to follow the cooperative business model of putting our member-owners first in everything we do while maintaining our primary focus of delivering high-quality, reliable, and affordable service every day to every member-owner will continue to bring success to the area.”

“We certainly look forward to seeing everyone at the 75th Anniversary celebration,” said Marketing Executive Tammy Dixon, “at the Annual Members Meeting in Tompkinsville, Kentucky, on Thursday, May 5th, 2011, and remember one lucky member-owner will drive away in a low mileage 2007 Ford F150 truck. See you soon!”

Employees, directors, and those living in their households are not eligible for prizes.