PowerSouth

Powerlines - July 2016

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2 AEC and South Mississippi Electric Power Association close switches interconnecting the two systems. This event gives AEC an outlet other than Alabama Power Company for buying and selling power. AEC initiates a strategic planning program as a means to determine positioning for the cooperative's future. The "Good Cents Home" program is adopted for utilization by member systems. AEC also becomes a charter member of the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative. AEC and Alabama Power Company reach an agreement for AEC to purchase an 8.16 percent ownership interest in Units 1 and 2 of the Miller Steam Electric Generating Plant near Birmingham. AEC breaks ground on the 110-megawatt Compressed Air Energy Storage Plant in McIntosh. The Tombigbee Plant is re-named in honor of retiring general manager Charles Lowman. AEC celebrates 50 years of service to its membership. Construction begins on the McWilliams Plant repowering that includes the addition of a 107-megawatt combustion turbine and major modifications to the steam generation facilities. Two 120-megawatt gas-fired combustion turbines are added at the McIntosh plant site. 1984 1985 1986 1988 TIMES OF CHANGE 1991 The Power of Human Connections In the late 1990s, Touchstone Energy offered electric cooperatives a sense of security during an insecure time. Today, the brand helps cooperatives navigate current challenges and those that lie ahead. As the new millennium drew closer, utilities dealt with uncertainty about industry restructuring. With deregulation of the electric utility industry occurring in many states, electric cooperatives united to develop a brand for rural electric systems. In 1997, Alabama Electric Cooperative (AEC) and many of its members joined other electric cooperatives, along with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, to form Touchstone Energy, a national marketing initiative. The Touchstone Energy brand built upon the strong foundation laid by electric cooperatives, promoting their strengths — integrity, accountability, innovation and community spirit. The national partnership and the unified brand reinforced the importance of unity between AEC and its member systems in facing future challenges. Today, Touchstone Energy is America's largest electric utility network, with a nationwide alliance of more than 750 member-owned electric cooperatives in 46 states serving 32 million members. As participants in Touchstone Energy, PowerSouth and most of its member systems have access to advertising and communications campaigns, education and training, member benefit programs and web development tools. Through Touchstone, electric cooperatives face challenges collectively, as they serve an increasingly diverse and evolving member base, meet demands to do more with less, and provide high- quality content. "Touchstone Energy helps PowerSouth and its members meet the diverse needs and expectations of the on-demand, high-tech, modern consumer," said Member Services Manager Debbie Marcum. "Touchstone provides resources that assist us in communicating energy efficiency and safety, educating kids via school programs, and informing members about renewables." PowerSouth and its members take advantage of many of Touchstone's programs, such as "Together We Save," "The Road to Member Engagement" training, and the Co-op Connections discount card. g 1995 1998

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