Tallahatchie Valley Electric Power Association is an electric cooperative that serves over 27,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in nine north Mississippi Counties. As a not-for-profit distributor of electricity generated by the Tennessee Valley Authority, TVEPA serves our member-owners, not profits. As a result, our rates are among the lowest in the Southeast and in the nation.
In the early 1930s America was facing a moment of crisis. A great depression had rocked the nation to the threshold of economic disaster. Rural communities were particularly hurt, and north Mississippi was impoverished with very little economic and social advancement in sight. One major problem faced by rural Mississippians was the lack of electricity. Less than one percent of farms here had electric power. The others did without with little hope that investor-owned, for profit, power companies would ever provide service.
In 1933, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was established due to the efforts of President Roosevelt. The TVA had as its mission the development of the natural resources of the Tennessee Valley, the greatest of which was power. TVA pledged to generate electric power and sell it at a reasonable cost to municipal-owned and cooperatively-owned power distributors. In 1936, President Roosevelt signed the Rural Electrification Act (REA), which was set up as a lending agency of the federal government to provide capital to finance electric generating plants, transmission lines and distribution lines in rural areas.
In 1936, local rural leaders were still faced with the tremendous responsibility of organizing associations to borrow necessary funds to build the distribution systems that were needed. A multitude of meetings were held throughout north Mississippi counties. Behind capable leadership, several north Mississippi counties joined together to form Tallahatchie Valley Electric Power Association. Batesville, because of its central location, was chosen as the Association’s headquarters. Many more meetings and much, much hard work later, on April 29, 1939, the switches were thrown to energize lines bringing electric power to 600 rural homes. The distribution lines had been built to the homes from TVA’s substation at Sardis Dam.
Now TVEPA continues to meet the needs of its member-owners and is ready to usher in a new era of electric utilities as the industry prepares for restructuring and customer choice. With the same hard work and commitment to low rates, superior service standards and to the communities that we serve, TVEPA will continue to make a difference in north Mississippi.
The TVEPA Board of Directors governs the Association by setting policy and ensuring that TVEPA remains financially strong through good business practices. Board members include Tracy L. Aiken, Senatobia; Charles Davis, Cascilla; Harry B. House, Coldwater; Gene T. Standridge, Tillatoba; Sheila Melton, Cascilla; Jeff Herron, Batesville; William J. Hays, Sardis; Kim Hollowell, Water Valley; Robert Chapman, Batesville.
TVEPA’s CEO is Brad Robison.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors
Tallahatchie Valley Electric Power Association is an electric cooperative that serves over 27,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in nine north Mississippi Counties. As a not-for-profit distributor of electricity generated by the Tennessee Valley Authority, TVEPA serves our member-owners, not profits.
TVEPA is governed by a nine-member Board of Directors that is elected by member-owners served by the electric cooperative. Batesville is our headquarters facility, and in order to serve our members best, we also have service personnel stationed in Senatobia, Coffeeville, and Charleston. TVEPA employs more than 100 full-time employees.
Why a Co-op works
Cooperatives are businesses that are owned by the members that they serve. Co-ops serve approximately 120 million people in various ways. Of that total, 1,000 electrical cooperatives, such as Tallahatchie Valley, serve 30 million people with quality electric service. Co-ops, whether they are electrical, agricultural, or otherwise, all have one thing in common: they are in business to provide a service, not to make a profit.
A nine-member Board of Directors elected from our membership is responsible for setting Tallahatchie Valley’s policies.
TVEPA’s Board of Directors, management and staff work in unison to provide customers with low rates, superior service, and commitment to the communities we serve.
In the more than 65-year history of TVEPA, the four General Managers who have led the association have focused intensely on keeping costs down. Because of this approach and the efforts of TVEPA employees, TVEPA has positioned itself as a low-cost provider of electricity, with electric rates lower than neighboring investor-owned, for-profit, utilities.
Since TVEPA’s management and staff believe that their mission is to serve members, not profits, all service personnel ranging from customer service representatives, who answer the phone, to linemen, who brave storms atop 40-foot poles, are trained to meet TVEPA’s Superior Service Standards. At TVEPA, we realize that our relationship with our customers is what makes us strong. We will work every day to strengthen that relationship through superior service.
In addition to low rates and superior service standards, TVEPA also offers real, measurable commitment to the communities that we serve. In an era of utility downsizing, TVEPA has taken the position that we need to add services in the communities that we serve. Through our economic development work and through our strong track record of community support, TVEPA is committed and will remain committed to improving the quality of life in the communities that we serve.
Who is Tallahatchie Valley?
Tallahatchie Valley is in the electric power distribution business primarily in order to provide quality service at the lowest possible rate. This is accomplished through our organization as a not-for-profit enterprise owned by its members. Unlike big companies with high rates, Tallahatchie Valley is not in business to make money. We do not answer to stockholders like others. We’re here to serve you.
You are our Owner
If you are served by Tallahatchie Valley, you are a member-owner. In fact, you even have $20.00 invested in your ownership through payment of your membership fee. This provides you an opportunity to vote for members to serve on the Board of Directors, which governs the Association policies and actions.
Our Service Area
Tallahatchie Valley serves a region of North Mississippi that includes portions of nine counties, making us one of the largest electric power associations in Mississippi. Our headquarters office is located in Batesville.
At Tallahatchie Valley, we take pride in maintaining service standards that are the best in the business. Our service personnel remain just a phone call away, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and even during holidays. Tallahatchie Valley is committed to improving the quality of life in the communities we serve through economic and community development efforts. We were the catalyst behind the development and growth of a large majority of our service area.
The most important part of our story is the fact that . . . “you’ve got the power.” The power that comes with ownership. The power to live the same quality of life as your friends in urban areas. The power to operate a computer and stay in touch with the rest of the world. It is also the brightest hope for bringing power to future generations.
Our Relationship with the Tennessee Valley Authority
Is Tallahatchie Valley the same as the Tennessee Valley Authority?
No, Tallahatchie Valley is a cooperative that was begun in 1938. Tallahatchie Valley does have a strong partnership with TVA. Tallahatchie Valley is a distributor of the electricity generated by TVA. In other words, Tallahatchie Valley buys its electric power from TVA and then resells it to our member-owners.
The electricity is marked up just enough to cover the expenses of maintaining our electric system. Since TVA is a not-for-profit government agency dedicated to generating low-cost electricity, Tallahatchie Valley customers get the best of both worlds.
Prices and Rates
We speak of the price of groceries, the price of a new car or truck, the rate of interest and the rates we pay for electric service. Prices and rates tell us what things are going to cost us, and all of the above have things in common. All are expensive and all have greatly increased in cost in recent years. Another thing all have in common is that costs control the prices or rates. All businesses must have revenues higher than their costs to continue.
When Tallahatchie Valley Electric Power Association was formed, the incorporators and first directors filed Articles of Incorporation and adopted By-laws which included procedures for borrowing money, building and operating an electric system, and establishing rates as necessary.
Each time Tallahatchie Valley Electric Power Association borrows money to serve the increasing electrical needs of our members, the Board of Directors signs documents which include the responsibility of setting rates which shall be sufficient to pay: cost of electrical energy, taxes, maintenance expense, other operating expenses, principal and interest payments when due, and maintain a reasonable reserve for working capital.
To fulfill these responsibilities, our Board of Directors must require that studies be made to determine rates that will produce this revenue, truly reflect the cost of service, and not discriminate against any class of consumer.
In no way, under these responsibilities, do our Board of Directors, employees or members have the right to set rates “the way they would like” or fail to establish rates that will produce the necessary revenues.