Many of the electric systems in the Tennessee Valley were formed in the 1930’s as part of the efforts by President Franklin Roosevelt to get the United States out of the Great Depression. Gallatin purchased the electric system back from the Kentucky-Tennessee Light and Power Company in 1939. The 75th anniversary of the Gallatin Department of Electricity (GDE) was February 22nd of 2014. What a great time to sit back and think of all the effort that has gone into making the Electric Department the well-run company that it is today.
Keeping the lights on can be a challenge at times, but with dedicated employees, past and present, GDE has done a great job over the years of doing just that. Ice storms, tornadoes, heat, cold, thunderstorms, flooding, squirrels, snakes, tree growth and the like are all examples of challenges that employees have battled. Electric Linemen are a special breed of individuals that brave all elements to keep the power on. Long hours, bad weather, rough terrain, disgruntled customers and a dangerous work environment are some of the things that linemen deal with day to day. We all owe a special thanks to the linemen of GDE for doing their best to keep the power flowing.
Just as important and often overlooked are the Office Staff that work with customers and their problems or issues to be sure that the bills are paid and their lights stay on. It is truly amazing to watch what the Staff deals with on a daily basis and how they keep their composure while talking with customers about all kinds of issues. Engineers, Meter techs, Stores Clerks, and others all deal with customers and are an integral part of the service that the Department provides. GDE has many employees with longtime tenure and know their job well and the challenges that go with it.
GDE employees are dedicated to providing the best possible service at the least possible price. Past managers and the Power Board have played a large role in this with great fiscal management. GDE has had only four managers to date. Mr. L.D. Hix, Mr. William Parker, and Mr. William Draper are the past managers that gave us their all by providing great service to the people of Gallatin. Fiscal responsibility, while holding the rates as low as possible, has been a theme from the beginning and we have a lot to be thankful for due to all of the efforts of past management. Gallatin still has some of the lowest electric rates in the Tennessee Valley.
I feel very blessed to be the fourth manager that the Gallatin Department of Electricity has ever had as well as blessed with the great examples of leaders who have come before me. I feel blessed that we have such a great group of dedicated employees who will give their all to keep the electricity flowing to the citizens of Gallatin. I feel blessed to have a great Power Board that is concerned about the welfare and overall operation of the Department. I feel blessed to look back in time and realize that 75 years ago our City Fathers saw fit to purchase the electric system so that we would have the benefit of it today. We owe a lot of our quality of life to electricity and I feel blessed to be a part of that service to the people of Gallatin. I think you should feel blessed too!
GDE serves approximately 17,825 customers inside the city limits of Gallatin as of May 2016. Residential customers make up roughly 15,033 of that number. As of the latest TVA report (January 1, 2015), GDE has one of the lowest residential rates in Tennessee. Beginning in January of 2007 a Fuel Cost Adjustment (FCA) was added to the power bills of all distributors of TVA power. That FCA changes each month either up or down in accordance with fuel requirements of TVA. This cost is passed directly to GDE customers.