We exist to make life better
Founded in 1936, MTE is the largest electric cooperative in the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) region and the second largest in the United States, serving more than 600,000 Tennesseans via 312,000+ accounts covering nearly 2,200 square miles in 11 Middle Tennessee counties, primarily Rutherford, Cannon, Williamson, and Wilson. Municipalities served include Murfreesboro, Franklin, Brentwood, Smyrna, Lavergne, Lebanon, and Mt. Juliet. MTE employs 500+ people in 7 local offices and its Murfreesboro corporate headquarters.
Middle Tennessee Electric came into being during the Great Depression as part of national and state efforts to electrify rural America. What started as a movement of farmers and rural residents to obtain the benefits of electricity became one of the nation’s success stories that continue to transform Middle Tennessee today. Here’s how it happened.
Cooperative businesses can be found in many industries. REI, Land O’Lakes, Navy Federal Credit Union, and many others are all examples of the cooperative business model in action. At their foundation are seven guiding principles.
During our creation in 1936 and subsequent development over the years, MTE also embodies these principles. Here is the list of the 7 Cooperative Principles:
- Voluntary and Open Membership — Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political, or religious discrimination.
- Democratic Member Control — Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. The elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary cooperatives, members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and cooperatives at other levels are organized in a democratic manner.
- Members’ Economic Participation — Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative. Members allocate surplus capital for specific purposes like developing the cooperative business or electric system, possibly by setting up reserves. Supporting other activities like community improvement or education projects is also permitted with the approval by the membership through the board of directors.
- Autonomy and Independence — Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their cooperative autonomy.
- Education, Training, and Information — Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public, particularly young people and opinion leaders, about the nature and benefits of cooperation.
- Cooperation Among Cooperatives — Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures.
- Concern for Community — While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.
Middle Tennessee Electric is not only recognized as a leader in our community but also has a substantial impact across the state and nation with other related organizations. The organizations listed below are an example of the types of organizations we work with to fulfill our purpose and mission.
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is a federal agency created in 1933 to supply power and other services to the seven-state Tennessee Valley region. In addition to supplying power, TVA has regulatory powers in rate-making and other jurisdictional arrangements with the electrical distributors. TVA generates all power within the seven-state region and resells through 159 local power companies of which MTE is a top five distributor.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) is the national organization of 900+ electric cooperatives across the country. NRECA furnishes several services to the cooperatives, including federal legislative contacts, training seminars, member communication materials, insurance, and retirement programs.
The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association (TECA) is the state organization of the 23 electric cooperatives within the state of Tennessee. It furnishes various services to the cooperatives, including legislative contacts, publishes the Tennessee Magazine, and coordinates other state activities.
The Touchstone Energy Cooperative is a national network of electric cooperatives that provides resources and leverages partnerships to help its member cooperatives and their employees better engage and serve their members. MTE utilizes our programs for a variety of services, including member communication and marketing.
The Tennessee Valley Public Power Association (TVPPA) is the seven-state TVA region organization of all 159 distributors of TVA power, both cooperatives and municipals. TVPPA negotiates with TVA on behalf of its members and furnishes research and development programs and training seminars.
The Action Committee for Rural Electrification (ACRE) is the political action arm of NRECA and furnishes lobbying expertise on the national level. No corporate funds can be used to support ACRE. Members of the ACRE organization range from those serving on the Board of Directors and senior leadership, to employees and cooperative members.
The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) is the national research and development organization of all electric distributors, including cooperative, municipal and investor-owned systems. EPRI is engaged in numerous research and development projects, the results of which are available to the electric utility industry.
If you're looking for some general information about Middle Tennessee Electric, our most recently published fact sheet can give you some insight about us. If you're looking for more information, please give us a call, come by a local office, or send us an email.