Manager's Viewpoint: 77 cents of every dollar

From the March issue of The Tennessee Magazine

SVEC CEO Mike Partin

I challenged myself back in January to eat healthier this year. There are many benefits of a healthy diet: weight loss, more energy, reduced risk of cancer and even improved memory.

It’s hard to argue against making smarter choices when it comes to the food we eat.

However, Harvey’s Pirate Restaurant is just down the street from our office, and I really like their Pirate Burgers. They are made fresh when you order and are out of this world — a factor that makes it really hard to settle for a salad.

The Pirate is known for burgers, but they don’t actually have a herd of cows out back. Their success depends on a quality supplier for their ground beef and other ingredients.

You may think that Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative has little in common with a restaurant, and that’s probably true, but we both need quality suppliers to be successful. We are best known for electricity, but we don’t actually make it. We buy it — and we buy lots of it.

In 2018, SVEC purchased nearly $69.4 million of electricity from our wholesale energy supplier, the Tennessee Valley Authority. TVA generates power and delivers it to each of our 14 electric substations located throughout our service area.

Our wholesale power cost, or the money we pay to TVA for power, represents our single largest expense.

In fact, 77 cents of every dollar you pay on your monthly power bill goes directly to TVA.

Obviously, what happens at TVA matters.

In 2018, TVA CEO Bill Johnson announced his retirement, and the TVA board is going through the process of selecting a new CEO. We expect an announcement to be made any day now, possibly even before you read this. The board’s selection will have a significant impact on TVA, but it will also impact your co-op and your energy bill.

Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative has been vocal to the TVA board regarding our expectations for the new CEO. We challenged the board to select a candidate who understands the industry, the region and our not-for-profit model. More importantly, we challenged board members to select as CEO someone who shares our commitment to deliver safe, affordable and reliable energy to the people we serve.

Just as the Pirate cares about what goes on with their suppliers, we care about what happens at TVA. The benefits of making smart choices are significant.