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2024 SEA Institute Registration – Louisville

Registration is now open for the 2024 SEA Institute in Louisville, Kentucky. The early registration cost for SEA members is $400. Non-members cost is $500, and we are offering a special rate of $450 for Kentucky cooperative communicators. All registration costs increase by $50 on July 15. The participant registration fee includes institute sessions, breakfast, lunches, welcome reception, Tuesday evening social and Willies Awards reception/dinner.

Additional guests may attend the Sunday evening welcome reception at no charge and the Willies Awards dinner for $90/ticket. Monday and Wednesday optional activities are an additional cost for all attendees. Transportation to Churchill Downs and to the Willies Awards will be provided at no additional cost.

Please complete the information below as you would like it to appear on the participant list and nametag.

2024 SEA Institute Registration

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  • Price: $400.00
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  • A limited number of tickets are available for tours of Angel's Envy and Old Forester on Monday, Sept. 23. (Conference participants only). Please choose below:

  • Price: $25.00
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  • Price: $90.00
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Accommodations

Hotel Distil raises a glass to Louisville’s bourbon past by bringing refinement and luxury to the famed Whiskey Row. Boutique guestrooms offer luxury with refined service that raise the bar for your stay in downtown Louisville. As the only oak-fired steakhouse on Whiskey Row, the on-site Repeal Oak Fired Steakhouse offers an award-winning menu, perfect to pair with an internationally acclaimed wine list and exclusive rare and rotating spirits collection of Bourbon Country’s most elusive bottles.

The room block rate, offered from September 21–26, is $264 for a standard room plus applicable taxes and fees.

All reservations must be made by August 11 to receive the room block rate.

Room reservations canceled after the hotel’s deadline MUST be paid in full to the SEA Institute planning committee at Kentucky Electric Cooperatives.

RESERVE NOW

Getting there

Louisville International Airport is a 15-minute drive from Hotel Distil.

If you have questions or would like information on how to sponsor the institute, contact Shannon Brock(sbrock@kentuckyliving.com), Joel Sams (jsams@kentuckyliving.com), Renee Williams (rwilliams@kentuckyliving.com) or Mallory Wafzig (mwafzig@kyelectric.coop).

SAVE THE DATE | Kentucky Electric Cooperatives 78th Annual Meeting

The 78th Annual Meeting of the Kentucky Electric Cooperatives will take place August 12-13, 2024
at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Louisville, Kentucky.

Click here for the schedule of events.

Click here for hotel information.

Use the form below to register:

2024 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 2024 spring college term. 

• Student must attend a Kentucky college or university

The scholarship application deadline is JUNE 5, 2024. Scholarship recipients will be notified in July. 

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

Application should be returned by mail to Mallory Wafzig, Kentucky Electric Cooperatives, P.O. Box 32170, Louisville, KY 40232.

2024 WIRE Scholarship Application

2023 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 2022 Fall College Term
  • Student must attend a Kentucky college or university

The scholarship application deadline is JUNE 6, 2023. Scholarship recipients will be notified in July. 

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

Applications can be mailed to:

Mallory Wafzig

c/o Kentucky Electric Cooperatives

P.O. Box 32170

Louisville, KY 40232

or emailed to mwafzig@kyelectric.coop.

2023 WIRE Application

New editor at Kentucky Living

Shannon Brock succeeds Anita Travis Richter

Joel Sams joins Kentucky Electric Cooperatives

After more than 25 years of service to electric cooperatives, Kentucky Living Editor Anita Travis Richter is retiring at the end of 2022. Anita has consistently demonstrated a commitment to professional standards, personal accountability, and creative collaboration. She has distinguished herself as a generous resource and problem-solver for our member cooperatives. Anita’s institutional knowledge has been invaluable, providing insight into industry norms and practices that has aided Kentucky Electric Cooperatives to make informed decisions for the benefit of member co-ops. Her legacy is that of both a leader and a team player, demanding excellence while also being willing to handle unglamourous tasks and unrelenting deadlines…all with a positive attitude. We are grateful to Anita’s husband, Mark, and daughter, Claire, for sharing her with us all these years. We encourage you to congratulate Anita on her exemplary career and thank her for her commitment to Kentucky co-ops.

We are blessed to have on our staff the ideal successor for Kentucky Living editor, Shannon Brock. Shannon will begin her new role as editor as of the January issue of the magazine. Since 2015, Shannon has served as managing editor of Kentucky Living, embracing the mission of the statewide association to be of service to our member co-ops. A Pineville, Kentucky native, Shannon graduated from the University of Kentucky and worked for Landmark Community Newspapers for six years: three at The Anderson News in Lawrenceburg, three as editor of The Spencer Magnet in Taylorsville. She worked at The State Journal in Frankfort as news editor for one and a half years. Shannon and her husband, Josh, live in Louisville with their two children.

Finally, we are excited to welcome Joel Sams to the Kentucky Electric Cooperatives Communications team as the new managing editor of Kentucky Living. Joel brings a skillset and perspective well-suited for our service to member co-ops. He will work closely with the editorial and design teams and will be a primary contact for local section editors and communicators. Joel grew up as a member of Blue Grass Energy in Millville. He’s a graduate of Asbury University and most recently worked as the press and editorial manager/managing editor for The Council of State Governments. Joel lives in Frankfort with his wife, Brittany, and two children.

Co-op Crews Restoring Power After Deadly Tornadoes

Electric cooperative crews, mutual aid workers and contractors are making steady progress this week restoring electricity after deadly tornadoes swept through parts of the South and Midwest over the weekend.

Damage to distribution and transmission lines, poles and support structures in some areas is extensive, and several co-op-served communities will face months of rebuilding and recovery from the massive tornadoes and powerful winds that ravaged their communities.

More than 100,000 co-op-served meters were out of service in the immediate aftermath of the storms, but local crews and contractors began assessing damage and making repairs as soon as winds subsided enough for them to work safely.

In hard-hit Kentucky, co-ops faced devastation in the communities they serve as they worked to restore power “surrounded by debris, destruction and an uncertain future for the western Kentucky communities they call home,” the Kentucky Electric Cooperatives said in a statement.

“Our hearts are heavy with the loss of life, homes, businesses and livelihoods in our communities,” said Chris Perry, president and CEO of Kentucky Electric Cooperatives and United Utility Supply Cooperative.

At least 74 people have died in Kentucky as a result of the tornadoes, state officials said Tuesday.

“The co-op mission is to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve, and co-op crews are doing what they can to try to help our members recover from this disaster,” Perry said. “I want to personally thank the crews for their incredible response within such a short time.”

More than 500 workers were helping to restore power in western Kentucky. Crews from more than 20 co-ops in several states were assisting line technicians at West Kentucky RECCWarren RECCGibson EMC and Pennyrile Electric, the statewide association said.

More than 80,000 co-op consumer-members in the state lost power Saturday. By Tuesday afternoon, that number had dropped to about 5,600. However, the pace of restoration is likely to slow as co-op crews deal with the most heavily damaged areas, the statewide association said.

Kentucky co-op employees were among those who suffered severe damage to their homes. The statewide association has created the nonprofit Kentucky Rural Electric Disaster Fund to help them and the communities they serve.

“Time and time again, Kentucky electric cooperative employees put their personal lives and families on the side to address the needs of their communities and the wider co-op community,” Perry said.

Louisville-based United Utility Supply Cooperative delivered multiple truckloads of materials and supplies to affected co-ops, deploying office staff to join the co-op’s truck drivers and deliver extra loads as needed, said Joe Arnold, vice president of strategic communications for the statewide association.

“Aware of the forecasts for severe weather on Friday night, UUS worked with its transformer vendor, ERMCO, to secure an extra supply of transformers to be able to deliver them where they were most needed after the storms,” Arnold said. “Despite supply chain concerns, UUS has been able to deliver needed supplies to co-ops.”

In Tennessee, co-ops have worked to reduce outages from 20,000 to less than 4,000, the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association said in a press release Tuesday.

Neighboring co-ops were working to help Gibson Electric Membership Corp. restore power to hard-hit areas of northwest Tennessee and southwest Kentucky. As of Tuesday, the co-op reported that it had about 1,000 members without electricty, down from about 1,700 the night before. However, the co-op was continuing to receive new outage reports even as it was restoring service.

“Even with all of Gibson EMC’s lineworkers and lineworkers from neighboring utilities, repairing the monumental damage is a painfully slow process,” said Dan Rodamaker, president and CEO of Gibson EMC and Gibson Connect, the co-op’s broadband subsidiary. “We know how very difficult a lengthy outage is for our members and we are pushing hard to restore electric and internet service as quickly as we safely can.”

It may take several more days to restore power to all of Tennessee’s co-op members, the statewide association said.

“The images coming out of northwest Tennessee and southwest Kentucky are truly remarkable,” said David Callis, executive vice president and general manager for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “Even in the face of tragedy, it is encouraging to see how many rush to provide assistance when neighbors need help.”

In Arkansas, 8,000 co-op members were out of power initially, but that number had plummeted to about 50 as of Tuesday afternoon, according to the outage map on the website of the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas.

Co-op crews also restored service to several thousand co-op meters in Mississippi and Illinois over the weekend, and power had been completely restored by Tuesday.

In Missouri, crews worked Monday to repair a high-voltage transmission line connecting two power plants owned by Springfield-based Associated Electric Cooperative to the grid. The G&T lost 17 steel structures, and officials have said long-term repairs will be needed on the line.

“Missouri crews restored service to about 15,000 co-op served meters across the state over the weekend,” said Jim McCarty, a spokesman for the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. As of Tuesday afternoon, the statewide association’s outage map showed just 84 co-op members without power.

Erin Kelly and Derrill Holly are staff writers for NRECA.

Kentucky electric co-ops assisting after Ida

More than 160 personnel and contractors head to Louisiana

More than 160 personnel and contractors from electric cooperatives in Kentucky are providing mutual aid to help restore power in Louisiana after Hurricane Ida.

In addition to more than 40 employees from five electric cooperatives in Kentucky responding to DEMCO, an electric cooperative in the Greater Baton Rouge area, co-ops have also released more than 120 contractors to deploy to areas ravaged by the storm.

“The catastrophic damage to electric infrastructure caused by Hurricane Ida will require a massive team effort to restore power,” said Chris Perry, president and CEO of Kentucky Electric Cooperatives. “We are praying for our sister co-ops in the region and for the safety of everyone assisting. By responding to natural disasters in other states, Kentucky co-op crews gain invaluable experience to ultimately help them respond to outages here at home.”

Crews from Nolin RECC and the co-op’s Wide Open Utility Service subsidiary rolled out Tuesday. Crews from Kenergy Corp. and South Kentucky RECC are heading to Louisiana on Wednesday, and co-op crews from Shelby Energy and Fleming-Mason Energy are scheduled to deploy on Thursday.

DEMCO, the largest co-op in Louisiana, reports extensive damage to transmission poles and substation transformers. “Restoration will be a weeks-long effort,” said Randy Pierce, DEMCO CEO and General Manager. Sixty transmission poles are down as well as more than 300 three-phase poles, which affects an estimated 60,000-80,000 co-op consumer-members.

Coordinated by Kentucky Electric Cooperatives, mutual aid crews from Kentucky co-ops are deployed to specific sister cooperatives who have requested their help. On daily conference calls, safety teams from each state assess optimal deployments.

Though mutual aid crews responded to winter storms earlier this year, the Ida response is the first mutual aid deployment for hurricane relief since last year. Last September, 87 employees from twelve Kentucky electric co-ops helped restore power to a co-op in southwest Alabama after Hurricane Sally. In October, 73 Kentucky co-op employees helped restore power in Louisiana after Hurricane Delta. About 50 co-op personnel responded later that month to Hurricane Zeta relief in Georgia.

The top priority of each local Kentucky co-op is service to its own consumer-members. Before committing resources to mutual aid requests, each co-op ensures it has ample crews available for all local needs, including routine maintenance and emergencies.

In addition, Kentucky-based United Utility Supply Cooperative has reached out to cooperative distributors in the region to offer its assistance of material and supplies.

Because the national network of transmission and distribution infrastructure owned by electric cooperatives is built to federal standards, line crews from any co-op in America can arrive on the scene ready to provide emergency support, secure in their knowledge of the system’s engineering.

The college-coffee connection

Coffee is one of my favorite drinks. I can drink it any time during the day and any time
during the year. I love coffee from McDonald’s and I love coffee from Starbucks. I love coffee from my $19 coffee maker or from some fancy French press machine.

When I was younger, I wondered how my dad could drink so much coffee. His passion for coffee started
when he was working the night shift at the steel mill in Ashland. Coffee keeps students awake at
night to study and gives them a jolt in the morning to get them to class.

Coffee shops also become the social hub where lifelong friends are made. When I was attending the University of Kentucky, my engineering major had lots of classes that began at 8 a.m. That
required an early alarm and dedication to make it to class on time. With my designated parking spot just behind Memorial Coliseum, I had to walk 1 mile across campus to the classroom.

The middle of campus is exposed to the wind and on cold January mornings it cuts right through you. If I stopped in the student union for a cup of hot coffee, it would sustain me through the
first class and help warm me up after the cold walk across campus. By stopping every day for that cup of coffee, I started a habit that continues today. As I write this, I’m on cup No. 2.

The February edition of Kentucky Living, our annual college issue, provides information to help high school students and their parents make the best decision for their future. While the
main focus for choosing a college is typically on the programs offered, other amenities such as housing,extracurricular activities, food—and coffee—become an important part of the decision-making process.

The lessons learned in college last a lifetime, including one’s love of coffee.

Chris Perry, Kentucky Electric Cooperatives President and CEO.

Crews from six Kentucky co-ops assisting in Georgia after Zeta

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (October 30, 2020) – For the third time in six weeks, dozens of Kentucky electric cooperative line technicians are headed south to assist in power restoration. Hurricane Zeta knocked out power to nearly 2 million homes and business across five states.

Nearly 50 employees from six electric cooperatives in Kentucky are deploying to three sister co-ops in northern Georgia that requested their help.

Carroll EMC (Nolin RECC and South Kentucky RECC)
• The co-op’s infrastructure sustained extensive damage including broken poles and downed lines when wind gusts exceeding 60 mph met saturated ground. “We haven’t had damage like this since Hurricane Opal in 1995,” said Chief Operating Officer Jerome Johnston. “In many areas, it is like a completely new construction job.”

Amicalola EMC (Farmers RECC, Warren RECC and Kenergy)
• Extremely high winds and heavy rain crashed through the co-op’s service area early Thursday, knocking out power to more than 38,000 Amicalola EMC members. Outages are being reported in all ten counties served by the co-op. A substantial number of trees are down in every county, with a high number falling across power lines, bringing the lines and power poles down with them.

GreyStone Power (West Kentucky RECC and Nolin RECC)
• About 33,000 consumer-members are without service. “We are grateful for the help and look forward to having their knowledge, experience and commitment to the cooperative difference helping us out,” the co-op posted on social media.

Coordinated by Kentucky Electric Cooperatives, mutual aid crews from Kentucky co-ops are deployed to specific sister cooperatives who have requested their help. On daily conference calls, safety teams from each state assess optimal deployments.

In September, 87 crews from twelve Kentucky electric co-ops helped restore power to a co-op in southwest Alabama after Hurricane Sally. Earlier this month, 73 Kentucky co-op employees helped restore power in Louisiana after Hurricane Delta.

The top priority of each local Kentucky co-op is service to its own consumer-members. Before committing resources to mutual aid requests, each co-op ensures it has ample crews available for all local needs, including routine maintenance and emergencies.

“This has been an especially difficult hurricane season for our fellow cooperatives in the southeastern United States,” said Chris Perry, President and CEO of Kentucky Electric Cooperatives. “We are praying for them and for the safety of everyone assisting. By responding to natural disasters in other states, Kentucky co-op crews gain invaluable experience to ultimately help them respond to outages here at home.”

In addition, United Utility Supply Cooperative is responding to power restoration needs for co-ops affected by Zeta across the region. The Kentucky-based co-op has implemented its storm emergency plan, providing round-the-clock support to meet the material needs of co-ops.

Because the national network of transmission and distribution infrastructure owned by electric cooperatives is built to federal standards, line crews from any co-op in America can arrive on the scene ready to provide emergency support, secure in their knowledge of the system’s engineering.

Co-ops credit McConnell, Barr for coronavirus relief help

As Kentucky families and communities cope with the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, the electric cooperatives which serve them are expressing gratitude to the commonwealth’s congressional delegation for its advocacy and support of legislation that has provided relief.

“In particular, I want to highlight the eagerness and diligence of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Congressman Andy Barr to connect with our rural communities to ensure that legislation in Washington addresses real needs back home,” says Chris Perry, president and CEO of Kentucky Electric Cooperatives.

Perry says the health and well-being of rural Kentuckians and the electric co-ops that serve them are inextricably linked, and the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic has the potential to be catastrophic. The sudden and extreme rise in Kentucky’s unemployment rate due to the pandemic lockdown of the state’s economy is not just a statistic to co-ops.

“These numbers represent the struggles of our neighbors, our co-op consumer-members,” Perry says. “As Kentucky and our nation cope with this crisis, it is more important than ever to know that our elected representatives have our back and we have their ear.”

Leader McConnell, Rep. Barr and their respective staffs have stayed in regular contact with Kentucky co-ops, listening to the needs and concerns “on the ground” back home in Kentucky.

“These open lines of communication have helped them not only craft meaningful relief legislation,” Perry says. “but also advocate for co-ops and local consumer-members as all of us worked to determine the most appropriate application of federal relief.”

For instance, Perry credits quick action by the lawmakers to ensure the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration clarified the eligibility of Kentucky’s rural electric cooperatives for specific funding so that co-ops could best understand their options as they weathered substantial financial losses over the last few months.

“Since Congress established the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), I have been working tirelessly to advocate for rural electric cooperatives eligibility for these critical forgivable loans,” said Congressman Barr. “Over the last several weeks, I have held calls with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and other high-ranking officials at the Treasury Department to advocate for rural electrical cooperatives. I am pleased that the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration clarified that rural electric cooperatives are now eligible for PPP loans.”

“The PPP is helping to save tens of millions of jobs as a centerpiece of the CARES Act I introduced,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “Right here in Kentucky, more than 45,000 small businesses have received federal assistance to keep their lights on and their workers on payroll. I’m glad Kentucky’s electric cooperatives can tap into the PPP in their work to power our communities and maintain affordable prices through this crisis. As Senate Majority Leader, I’m constantly working with the Trump administration and my colleagues to deliver the aid Kentucky needs to beat this virus.”

Perry said that as future recovery efforts take shape, co-ops look forward to continuing to work with elected officials on proposals that ensure electric co-ops have the flexibility and financial relief they need to ensure the delivery of affordable, reliable electricity.

“From increasing federal assistance for utility payments to supporting high-quality broadband in rural America, the Commonwealth’s electric cooperatives stand ready to support bipartisan solutions for the communities we serve,” Perry said.