Since its beginnings, Jackson EMC has proven itself a company devoted to serving its community. Our cooperative started 80 years ago when neighbors and local leaders worked together to bring electricity to our area.
For those first members of Jackson EMC, electricity helped transform their homes, businesses, farms and schools. That spirit of cooperation continues to drive us to do what’s best for our members and community.
We’re committed to providing you, our members, with safe, reliable and affordable electricity. That means making infrastructure improvements to help ensure you have reliable electricity and finding ways to keep your electric costs low.
Jackson EMC isn’t just a utility business – we’re a cooperative. As a member of this cooperative, you’re essential to keeping our business strong through your involvement.
Looking around our community, it’s clear our area continues to grow with new businesses, homes and schools. Three counties in our service area – Jackson, Barrow and Lumpkin counties – are among some of the fastest growing counties in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Jackson EMC is also growing. In the past 12 months, we’ve added more than 4,000 residential meters to our system and almost 400 new commercial/industrial meters. We now serve more than 228,000 meters.
Our commercial/industrial members are key players to keeping costs low for all members. Commercial businesses make up 10 percent of our membership, but use 40 percent of the electricity. This year, we added 13 megawatts of competitive commercial/industrial load from companies that chose Jackson EMC as their electric provider.
Over the last 12 months, our members used 5.3 billion kilowatt hours of electricity. That’s enough electricity to power a refrigerator in every household in the nation for a month. What’s even more impressive is that despite adding 11,000 new members since 2015, our kilowatt sales have remained about the same since that time. Our members are taking energy efficiency to heart. It’s evident that our members use the energy saving tips we share, including those in JEMCO News, in order to keep their personal and business power bills at a minimum while helping your cooperative keep costs stable for all of our members.
Preparing for the Future
With continued growth in our area, Jackson EMC remains committed to providing you with reliable electricity. We do that by making infrastructure improvements, such as building new power substations and installing smart technology to restore power quicker in the event of an outage.
In the past year, we have built two new substations – one in West Jackson to serve the rapidly-growing area along Highway 124 and another in Banks Crossing on Highway 441 to serve the growth in that area. The substation in Banks County will connect to a new transmission line, which will increase reliability for our members near Interstate 85.
Another effort for improving reliability is our grid automation project. Using advanced technology, these switches on our distribution network help restore power faster when outages occur. We installed an additional 48 automated switches this year, bringing the total to more than 250 of these on our system.
Overall, we invested $35 million in our distribution network last year to better serve members with reliable power.
In addition to investing in the reliability for our system, we’re also investing in new energy sources, like solar power. Through our partnership with Green Power EMC, our members now receive 12.7 megawatts of renewable electricity. Of that, 19 million kilowatt hours is generated through solar power. That’s enough electricity to power 1,300 homes. In 2021, we’ll add another five megawatts of solar power from a new project currently under construction in middle and south Georgia.
In our local classrooms, we support teachers who want to educate students about solar energy. The Sun Power for Schools program uses STEM-based programs to give students a hands-on experience while learning about renewable energy.
Thanks to members making donations through Operation Round Up, the Jackson EMC Foundation continues to make a difference in our community for organizations and individuals in need. Last year, our members helped give back $1,204,470 in grants – primarily for those needing housing,food, medical services, counseling and other services. We’re proud of our members for helping to distribute more than $13 million in our community since Operation Round Up started in 2005.
Jackson EMC also has a longstanding role in helping students succeed in the classroom and beyond. The Bright Ideas program, for example, has funded 123 innovative middle school classroom projects since 2015. The past 12 months also marked the 49th Quality Beef Show, where we support students learning leadership skills and discipline. And speaking of future leaders, we sent four highly-qualified high school students to Washington, D.C. for a leadership development program. Our students were a few of the more than 1,800 students from other electric cooperatives across the U.S. selected as delegates for the Washington Youth Tour.
In addition to the work we do supporting students, we sponsor many community activities and events, like Relay for Life and March of Dimes. We also support Habitat for Humanity, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, and Boys and Girls Clubs in our community.
Serving Our Community
Many of our employees also give their time to serve a variety of causes in the area. “Concern for Community” one of the seven principles that govern all cooperatives around the world. And, our employees certainly believe in helping the community. Many Jackson EMC employees serve in civic clubs, on chamber committees, economic development authorities and on the boards of charitable organizations. We’re proud of the great number of our employees serving our youth as coaches, mentors and volunteers for organizations that are making an impact in our community.
Some of our linemen had the unique opportunity this year to serve the global community by bringing power to remote villages in Bolivia. Along with colleagues from other co-ops, these linemen spent two weeks in the Andes Mountains doing primitive line work to help turn on the lights in these communities for the first time.
Your Power. Your Community.
When our employees report to work each day, they have a purpose – to exceed our members’ expectations with reliable, courteous and personalized service. Thanks to our members and employees, our cooperative is strong.
As a not-for-profit cooperative, a portion of revenues left over after all the bills are paid each year – we call them “margin refunds” – are returned to our members at the end of the year. Last December, eligible Jackson EMC members received $9 million in these margin refunds. This year, the board of directors is pleased to announce that in December we’ll mail $10 million in refunds to members who received service in 1990, 1991 and/or 2017. When that refund is mailed, Jackson EMC will have returned approximately $135 million to our members since we were founded in 1938.