Nearly 3,000 people gathered Thursday for the 75th annual Snapping Shoals EMC shareholder’s meeting at the Georgia International Horse Park.
By 11:30am there were 1,499 members registered and seated for the event that started with a brief business meeting conducted by the 11 directors who serve on the Snapping Shoals EMC (SSEMC) board. Shareholders also voted on the board of directors, though this year there were no opposition candidates.
“We have always been focused on trying to keep the rates as low as we can,” SSEMC’s senior employee, Member Services Manager Randy Price, said prior to the meeting. “Our profits flow back – we just refunded over $3 million in capital credits to our members. That is what makes us different. Our power is not different than anybody else’s, but the main thing is you have to sell the service. Our rates are the third cheapest in the state and we are one of the cheapest in the entire country.”
Thousands of SSEMC member have made a tradition of attending the annual shareholder’s meeting to gather with other stakeholders who have watched their counties grow with the help of SSEMC. It all began with the creation of Snapping Shoals Power and Light Company on June 29, 1936, and the first power lines flowing with energy in November of 1937. President Franklin Roosevelt had recently signed an executive creating the Rural Electrification Administration, which provided low-interest loans to bring electricity to rural areas that were not profitable for existing power companies to serve. Five local men received a loan of $90,000 to construct 90 miles of line for serving 270 consumers in Rockdale, Newton and Henry counties.
In 1938 Snapping Shoals Power and Light became Snapping Shoals Electric Membership Corporation, a consumer-owned, non-profit cooperative, and the headquarters moved to Covington. Today, the co-op serves about 95,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in an eight-county area southeast of Atlanta, including Rockdale, Henry, Newton, DeKalb, Butts, Walton, Jasper and Morgan counties.
One highlight many of the members return for year after year is the prize raffle, which this year included small appliances and even a truck donated by vendors. Conyers resident Wayne Kinnett held the lucky raffle ticket and drove home the “grand” prize, a 2001 Ford F-150 recently retired from the SSEMC fleet. The oldest SSEMC member present, 92-year-old Dora Zachary, was also recognized during the event and was presented with a $100 credit towards her bill.
Rockdale resident Thearon Eidson has attended every meeting since 1976, and this year he and his wife Iris brought their granddaughter Emmy for her first SSEMC shareholder’s meeting.
“I come to listen to the meetings and try to win a prize,” Eidson said during the meeting. “I like to keep up with what is going on.”