The Tennessee Municipal Electric Power Association was formed as a loosely knit organization in 1966, primarily to negotiate a state statute concerning the terms by which cities would acquire Rural Electric Cooperative distribution facilities (electric) when their owning municipalities annexed territory and expanded their city limits. Prior to this time, these cities only representation was by the Tennessee Municipal League (TML). TML represented all 350 plus incorporated cities which included 50% that were served by Rural Electric Cooperatives; hence the difficulty in annexation disputes and the need for a separate organization. TML did not concentrate on the needs of the electric systems. As such TMEPA has expanded to represent all the legislative needs primarily in Nashville but also in Washington, D.C. which it coordinates with TML, TVPPA, APPA and other utility organizations.
How the TMEPA is Governed
TMEPA is governed by a thirteen-member Board of Directors, chosen in staggered terms; three (3) from each of the main divisions of the State and one (1) each from the four (4) largest members. The term of each director is three years. From this governing body, a President, President-Elect and Secretary-Treasurer are elected each year for a 12-month period. The 2017/2018 President is Shannon Littleton of Lenoir City, President-Elect is Brian Taylor of Clarksville and Scott Dahlstrom of Trenton is Secretary/Treasurer.
The Annual Meeting is usually held the second week of July and its location is rotated from East to West to Middle Tennessee. The 2017 Annual Meeting of the Members was in Memphis, TN and it was a great meeting. The 2018 Annual Meeting will be in Chattanooga at the Chattanoogan Hotel, July 11-13, 2018. Each year in February or March we have a Legislative Rally and Reception in honor of the Members of the General Assembly. The 2018 Rally & Reception is scheduled for February 13, 2018 at the Hermitage Hotel, Nashville.
TMEPA represents 59 of the 60 municipally owned electric systems in Tennessee which serve approximately 70% of our state’s electric consumers and 75% of the power sold. The four (4) largest (Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga) serve almost 1,140,000 of the nearly 2,192,000 municipal customers. Memphis is the largest with just over 405,000 and Newbern the smallest at 1,745. The Association exists to create the optimum environment in which city-owned electric systems can serve the needs of their customer/owners.
TMEPA is a member of the American Public Power Association (APPA) in Washington, D.C. and Tennessee Valley Public Power Association (TVPPA) in Chattanooga. The current Executive Director is Brian Solsbee who was appointed on June 12, 2017 to work with Mike Vinson until he retired on July 28, 2017. Mr. Solsbee has over 11 years of experience in the electric utility industry as a General Manager at Etowah Utilities Department and with TVA. The first Executive Director of TMEPA was Tommy Walker who served from the beginning year (1966) until 1988. He was followed by Bill Moss, who served from August 1, 1988 until his retirement in August 2003 and, as mentioned, Mike Vinson who served from June 2003 till July 2017.
Jeremy Elrod is the Director of Government Relations and the Executive Administrative Assistant is Susan Sherrill.