Month: January 2020

Social media best practices shared at 2019 KMSA

One of the presentations at 2019’s KMSA addressed the best practices you could put in place to help your cooperative’s presence on social media. This presentation was given by Kacey Harmeling, a graphic designer for Kentucky Living magazine, and Mary Lyons, Communication Office Coordinator at KEC. Both of which have prior experience in managing social media platforms for companies before they were hired at KEC.

The presentation included best practices like creating a social media calendar, examples of good social media content, how to engage followers, and how to best respond to followers.

Click here for a PDF version of the PowerPoint presentation.

If you have any questions about this presentation, you can email Kacey Harmeling at or Mary Lyons at

USDA Invests $55.3 Million in Broadband for Rural Kentucky Communities

COLUMBIA, Ky.– Today, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ”LaVoy announced USDA has invested $55.3 million in four, high-speed broadband infrastructure projects in rural Kentucky. These projects, part of the first round of USDA’s ReConnect Pilot Program investments, will create or improve rural e-Connectivity for more than 12,250 rural households and nearly 100 farms and businesses across Kentucky and northern Tennessee.

“High-speed broadband internet connectivity, or e-Connectivity, is essential today to run a successful business or agricultural operation, access specialized health care or education, and connect with loved ones living far away,”LaVoy said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA has made the deployment of this critical infrastructure in rural America a top priority, because we know that when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”

LaVoy announced the following investments in rural Kentucky: 

  • Ballard Rural Telephone Cooperative Corporation will use a $2.4 million ReConnect Program grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network in rural McCracken County. The funded service areas include 578 households and a critical community facility spread over 20 square miles.

  • Duo County will use an $18.7 million ReConnect Program grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network in rural Adair, Cumberland and Russell counties. The funded service areas include almost 3,650 households over 45 square miles.
  • Gibson Electric Membership Corporation will use a $32 million ReConnect Program loan to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network in rural Fulton, Graves and Hickman counties in Kentucky, and in Dyer, Lake, Obion and Weakley counties in Tennessee. The funded service areas include almost 7,400 households spread over 1,056 square miles.

  • Thacker-Grigsby Communications will use a $2.3 million ReConnect Program grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network in rural Breathitt County. The funded service area includes 637 households spread over 109 square miles.


In March 2018, Congress provided $600 million to USDA to expand broadband infrastructure and services in rural America. On Dec. 13, 2018, Secretary Perdue announced the rules of the program, called “ReConnect,” including how the loans and grants will be awarded to help build broadband infrastructure in rural America. USDA received 146 applications between May 31, 2019, and July 12, 2019, requesting $1.4 billion in funding across all three ReConnect Program funding products: 100 percent loan, 100 percent grant, and loan-grant combinations. USDA is reviewing applications and announcing approved projects on a rolling basis. Additional investments in all three categories will be made in the coming weeks.

These grants, loans and combination funds enable the federal government to partner with the private sector and rural communities to build modern broadband infrastructure in areas with insufficient internet service. Insufficient service is defined as connection speeds of less than 10 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 1 Mbps upload.

In December 2019, Agriculture Secretary Perdue announced USDA will be making available an additional $550 million in ReConnect funding in 2020. USDA will make available up to $200 million for grants, up to $200 million for 50/50 grant/loan combinations, and up to $200 million for low-interest loans. The application window for this round of funding will open Jan. 31, 2020. Applications for all funding products will be accepted in the same application window, which will close no later than March 16, 2020.

A full description of 2020 ReConnect Pilot Program funding is available on page 67913 of the Dec. 12, 2019, Federal Register (PDF, 336 KB). To learn more about eligibility, technical assistance and recent announcements, visit

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force. To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit

Green Station safety milestone

We’re keeping the safety milestones rolling! At midnight on January 19th, the employees of Green Station reached 11 years without a lost-time injury or incident. Green Station employees work in a wide variety of roles and environments, all tasked with ensuring the plant continues to generate safe, competitive, and reliable power. Congratulations to all of the Green Station employees who help build our safety culture. Reaching this milestone would not be possible without their commitment to work safe every day.

Operation RoundUP results

Our members are awesome! In 2019, Jackson Energy’s Operation RoundUP members (who voluntarily choose to round-up their monthly bills to the next dollar) were able to impact over 35 organizations with over $36,000 going back to their communities! A few cents each month adds up to countless benefits by funding grants for our local fire departments, senior citizen centers, youth service centers and civic organizations – just to name a few. Learn more about Operation RoundUP by clicking on the link – and don’t forget to RoundUP!

Youth tour winners recognized

SKRECC Mgr of Energy Services & Member Engagement Alan Coffey and Kentucky Electric Coops Dir of Events & Youth Programs Mary Beth Dennis recently traveled to area schools to present last year’s Washington Youth Tour winners with framed Kentucky Living Magazine covers with their photo. If you are a high school junior, see your guidance counselors or call (800) 264-5112 to speak to Alan Coffey for more information about the Washington Youth Tour!

10 year milestone

Congratulations to the employees of ET&S (Energy Transmission and Substation) for reaching 10 years without a lost-time incident! ET&S employees work in all conditions to repair and maintain power service, so safety is paramount. A decade of work without a lost-time incident is an impressive safety milestone that wouldn’t be possible without employees dedicated to making that happen for themselves and their coworkers.

Blue Grass Energy is donating $21,570.53 to Kentucky Wounded Heroes

Powered by the cooperative’s purpose of making life better, the cooperative way, employees organized fundraisers throughout 2019 to raise the money. This total is the largest yearly total collected since Blue Grass Energy began their corporate charity program. Over the last six years, employees have raised and donated over $106,000 to local charities. Thank you to all employees and Blue Grass Energy members who helped make this donation possible!

Nucor and Kentucky co-ops: A powerful partnership

When Nucor Corp., America’s largest steel producer, decided to expand its operations in North America, it chose Kentucky—specifically, two sites served by electric cooperatives.

“Access to affordable and reliable power was a major reason we chose to expand our Gallatin mill and locate our new plate mill in Kentucky. We’ve enjoyed a great working relationship with the state’s electric cooperatives, so it made sense to continue to grow here,” says John Farris, Nucor Steel Gallatin’s vice president and general manager. 

Nucor Steel Gallatin, a mill producing flat-rolled coils in Ghent, is served by Owen Electric Cooperative in partnership with East Kentucky Power Cooperative, its wholesale energy provider.

After a substantial investment in 2017 of $176 million to add galvanizing and pickling lines to the Ghent facility, Nucor is investing $650 million to nearly double the mill’s annual capacity to approximately 3 million tons.  

“Nucor’s continued investment at their Ghent facility has led to tremendous job creation and economic prosperity in the region,” says Michael Cobb, interim CEO of Owen Electric. “We appreciate our strong working relationship with Nucor and value the opportunity to serve as their electric power supplier.”

Meanwhile, about 120 miles downstream on the Ohio River in Brandenburg, Nucor is investing $1.35 billion in a new steel plate manufacturing mill slated to open in 2022 at the Buttermilk Falls Industrial Park, served by Meade County RECC in partnership with Big Rivers Electric, its wholesale energy provider. 

“Big Rivers and Meade County RECC staff have fostered a productive relationship with Nucor officials to bring their Brandenburg steel plate facility to operation on schedule and economically,” says Marty Littrel, Meade County RECC’s president and CEO. “We are excited about the future and the economic growth that will follow Nucor’s presence in the region.”

In addition to an estimated 2,000 construction jobs, Nucor’s new mill is expected to create about 400 full-time positions with an average annual wage of $72,000.

2020 WIRE Scholarships Available for Kentucky College Students

The Kentucky Chapter of Women in Rural Electrification (WIRE) is offering three $1,000 scholarships to Kentucky college students.

The scholarships are open to any applicant who meets the following criteria:

  • Student or Student’s family must be served by a Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative.
  • Student must have completed at least 60 credit hours at the end of the 2019 Fall College Term.
  • Student must attend a Kentucky college or university

The scholarship application deadline is JUNE 12, 2020. Scholarship recipients will be notified in July.

Scholarships will be awards based on academic achievements, extracurricular activities, career goals, recommendations from professors and community leaders, and financial need.

Application should be returned to Mary Beth Dennis, KAEC, P.O. Box 32170, Louisville, KY 40232.

South Kentucky RECC Disbursing More than One Million Dollars to Members

For the second year in a row, the Board of Directors of South Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation has announced the co-op is mailing $1,604,397 in capital credit refunds to members this week. The refunds from South Kentucky RECC total $1.4 million for the years of 1986, 1987 and 1988. In addition, more than $200,000 is being returned to members from East Kentucky Power Cooperative, which generates the electricity and is owned by South Kentucky RECC and 15 other distribution cooperatives across the state. Capital credit refunds from SKRECC and East Kentucky Power will be delivered in one check to members. A member’s share of this refund is based upon the amount of electricity used in the specified years in relation to the electric usage of all members at that time. In the world of co-ops, when revenues are greater than expenses, the difference is called a margin, and shares are not paid to investing stockholders, as an investor-owned utility would do. They are shared among the member-owners of South Kentucky RECC—the people who get their electricity from the co-op. South Kentucky RECC CEO, Ken Simmons, said this is just one of the many benefits of being a member-owner of an electric cooperative. “It gives the Board and myself great pleasure to be able to send these patronage capital checks to our membership. It affirms what our mission statement says – that we were ‘formed for people, not profit.’ We believe in this mission statement and strive to do the best that we can for our members.”