Reliable, Affordable Power Through Cooperation - Carolina Country

Reliable, Affordable Power Through Cooperation

TEMA is dedicated to getting co-ops the supplies they need at the lowest possible cost

By Jason Caudle

Jason Caudle

Jason Caudle

The electric power grid is sometimes referred to as the most-complicated machine ever built. Nationwide, it’s made up of thousands of power plants and millions of miles of transmission and distribution lines. Here in North Carolina, electric cooperatives maintain more than 100,000 miles of line to ensure affordable, reliable power is available 24/7 to members across 93 counties.

Tarheel Electric Membership Association (TEMA) is one example of that cooperation. TEMA is a co-op, formed by electric cooperatives in the 1970s, that provides the materials and supplies needed to operate and maintain the electric system. Today, TEMA serves co-ops in North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland. By working together through TEMA, those electric cooperatives can source materials cost-effectively and receive them efficiently.

TEMA is dedicated to getting co-ops the supplies they need, when they need them, at the lowest possible cost.

Keeping the power grid in top form is a big job, but through the principle of Cooperation Among Cooperatives, North Carolina’s electric co-ops rely on each other for support — during and after extreme weather events, while deploying innovative grid technologies, and in securing infrastructure materials.

TEMA’s warehouse in Raleigh has 112,000 square feet of storage space with materials on hand that include grid protective equipment; transformers; hardware like bolts, connectors, splices and sleeves; utility lighting; and grid construction and maintenance materials. As the world has navigated the uncertainty of the pandemic, TEMA has proven to be an invaluable resource for ensuring the state’s electric co-ops can maintain reliable service at an affordable cost. Our team at TEMA has worked hard to provide top-notch service, and we’ve kept supply trucks rolling from our warehouse five days a week.

While supply chain issues have impacted businesses worldwide, TEMA has placed even greater emphasis on market forecasts and works closely with electric co-ops to plan ahead. We’ve increased inventory of some critical materials from a 90-day supply to 120- and 180-day supplies to offset longer lead times. We try to keep our crystal ball as clear as possible, and by working closely with our member co-ops, we can plan and stay ready to best serve co-op consumer-members at the end of the line.

So if you see storm clouds on the horizon this summer, rest easy knowing your electric cooperative is supported by a statewide network, including our staff of employees dedicated to getting it the supplies it needs, when it needs them, at the lowest possible cost.

TEMA is owned by the members we serve and relies on cooperation among cooperatives — and we are seeing firsthand that the cooperative model works.

About the Author

Jason Caudle is the chief operating officer for the Tarheel Electric Membership Association.

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