March 25, 2023

Chris Norman – Administrative Assistant/City Recorder

Dickson Electric System General Manager Darrell Gillespie says the utility has started
creating its new broadband division and expects to begin providing retail services to the first
customers in a couple months.
Gillespie was presenting the DES annual report to the Dickson City Council at its Feb. 6
meeting and was asked for an update on the broadband project by Mayor Don L. Weiss Jr.
“We’ve made a lot of progress since the last time I had the opportunity to speak to the
council,” Gillespie said. “We’ve let contracts go for main line construction of our fiber build and
the installers that will be installing fiber to the homes. Engineering design work’s being worked
on. They’re doing approximately 80 miles a week right now and, of course, there’s 2,700 miles
to go. So, it’s going to take a while to get there.”
DES already has fiberoptic lines installed to schools and some other locations, and Gillespie
said it will be another couple months before the service begins in homes.
“It probably will not be but maybe another two months before we’ll actually be in people’s
homes, making a lot of installs,” Gillespie said. “We have some customers, but we’ll actually be
providing retail service at that time.”
Gillespie did not identify specific areas he expects service to be available in initially but in a
prior update to the council said construction would begin simultaneously in urban and rural parts
of the service area.
“We have a brand new broadband division manager, an operations manager and we’re
building that team,” Gillespie said. “And they’re making tremendous progress in getting a very
large project off the ground and moving.”
DES has used bonds to generate $50 million for the creation of the broadband service and
Gillespie has said competitive internet packages will be available to every home, business and
industry in the five counties served by Dickson Electric.
On its website, DES identifies Ronnie Sagar as the new broadband director and George
Benjamin as broadband operations manager with other positions currently being filled.
In his January update, Sagar says DES “will be finalizing the design work with Ervin Cable
Construction and releasing the color-coded phase map allowing us to finally answer your number
one question: When will it be available in my area?”
Sagar says the division has a new space and will begin acquiring the materials it needs to
begin installing the new fiber lines.
“We’ve recently secured a warehouse facility nearby and have executed a lease agreement
with a community partner to rent a space in the industrial park,” Sagar says in an update dated
January 2023. “Over the coming weeks, we will be working with Wesco on procurement of
material to begin filling our new facility. Trucks will soon be rolling out and we’ll be hanging
fiber this spring!”
For updates, information and frequently asked questions on Dickson Electric System’s
broadband project, visit
In presenting Dickson Electric System’s annual report to the council, Gillespie said the
utility’s consumers increased from 36,629 to 37,079 in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022.
During that period, kilowatt-hour sales increased 1.28 percent with operating revenues growing
7.91 percent from $84,749,816 to $91,451,727.

Of the utility’s expenses, power purchased from the Tennessee Valley Authority accounted
for $68,166,531 (74.44 percent of revenues), operating expenses were $7,743,889 (8.46 percent)
and maintenance expenses were $5,685,895 (6.21 percent). The utility showed net revenue of

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