2023 Annual Report to Members
Jackson EMC was founded 85 years ago by a group of people who came together to form a cooperative to bring electricity to their homes and farms, which would make life better and easier. We’re continuing to shape the lives of people in this community – not just through the electricity brought into their homes and businesses, but also with care and concern for the community. In fact, “Concern for Community” is one of the key cooperative principles. This year our employees used their passion, skills and time to serve others through a massive community service initiative. Jackson EMC employees packaged more than 3,000 personal care kits to donate to middle school students in need in our community. They helped pack more than 1,000 food boxes at local food banks, and they helped Habitat for Humanity prepare for additional housing in our area. As a cooperative, we serve. We serve our members. We serve our community. And as a member of Jackson EMC, we want to keep you informed of the accomplishments and plans of your co-op.
We added more than 7,000 meters to our distribution system in a year, bringing the total meters we serve to more than 255,000. That’s the largest annual growth we’ve seen since 2006. The growth in our area continues to bring new neighbors and businesses. In the past five years, the number of meters we serve has grown by 12%. That’s impressive, considering some of the challenges from the pandemic during those years. Out of more than 900 electric cooperatives, Jackson EMC remains the third largest in the U.S. During the past 12 months, we’ve added 420 commercial and industrial members who add 71.3 million kilowatt hours of competitive load from companies that chose Jackson EMC as their service provider. Our commercial accounts are important for keeping costs low for all members because they enable us to purchase electricity at a more competitive price. We’re honored that several major companies chose Jackson EMC as their service provider for their new facilities because of their positive experience with the co-op. This includes Publix, which selected Jackson EMC for its new stores coming to Hoschton, Gainesville and Dahlonega. Northeast Georgia Health System selected Jackson EMC for its new hospital in Lumpkin County, which will open in 2024. We’re also the health system’s service provider of its hospital in Braselton. Additionally, King’s Hawaiian, selected the co-op for its new $85 million facility in Flowery Branch that will open across the street from its current bakery.
Preparing for the Future
We’re always looking ahead to how we can improve our distribution system to serve you. Over the next three years, we plan to invest $209 million in our distribution system to upgrade lines and equipment, improve reliability and serve our growing membership. We’ll continue investing in state-ofthe-art automated switches that help restore power quicker in the event of an outage. Our goal is to install 500 of these automated switches across our distribution system. We added 33 this year, bringing our current total to 390. In the past year, we’ve invested more than $74 million in our distribution network to better serve members. We continue to build new substations, which improves the reliability of your electricity. We recently completed construction of a new substation in Jackson County on Dry Pond Road, near Interstate 85. In Barrow County, we’re building another substation near Dee Kennedy Road and Flanagan Mill Road, which will bring the total number of our substations to 83.
Diversifying Our Energy Sources
Jackson EMC serves our members with a diverse portfolio of safe, reliable and affordable power. One of those energy sources is nuclear, which is considered one of the most reliable energy sources that can generate electricity 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We receive nuclear energy from Plant Vogtle through our wholesale power provider, Oglethorpe Power. There have been some exciting developments in Georgia, as Unit 3 at Plant Vogtle recently began commercial operation. This is the first new nuclear unit to come online in the U.S. in more than three decades and will provide emission-free power for the next 60 to 80 years. The next unit at Vogtle is expected to come online next year. Along with nuclear, our energy mix includes natural gas, coal, and hydroelectric and solar energy. Each of these sources are important for ensuring you have reliable electricity. Our members received 95 million kilowatt hours of renewable electricity last year through our partnership with Green Power EMC. Just over half was generated by solar power – which was enough to totally power more than 3,200 of your homes last year. We continue to invest in large-scale solar projects that benefit our members. Through several new projects under construction in middle and south Georgia, we’ll add more solar power in the coming year. We anticipate receiving 108 million kilowatt hours of solar power next year. If you’re curious about your options for renewable energy at your home, check out our website for more information. One of the options is our Cooperative Solar program, which we launched last year. Cooperative Solar allows you to receive energy from an off-site solar facility that distributes energy to individual residences while avoiding the inconvenience of rooftop solar. This program lets members get energy credits directly on their bill, without any contract or long-term obligation, through Jackson EMC-owned solar panels, just as if the panels were installed on their home.
When it comes to service, we want to exceed your expectations. We’re thrilled that our Customer Service team recently earned a prestigious honor – being named the first ICMI certified EMC Contact Center in the nation. Over the past year, our Customer Service team has undergone rigorous training with the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) to earn certification highlighting that our Contact Center is efficiently operated and delivers exceptional customer service.
As a cooperative, we have a special connection with our community. Members who participate in Operation Round Up® support funding for community-based programs, like food banks, community health clinics, educational initiatives, emergency shelters and more. Members participating in Operation Round Up round up their bill to the next dollar. The Jackson EMC Foundation has a huge impact on the community we live in because those dollars add up and the Foundation board of directors is able to grant that money to worthy organizations making a positive impact. Last year, Jackson EMC members gave back more than $1.1 million to the community through grants awarded by the Jackson EMC Foundation. Since Operation Round Up started in 2005, our members have contributed more than $19 million to the program.
Thanks to our members and employees, our cooperative is strong. As a not-for-profit cooperative, a portion of revenues left after all the bills are paid each year – we call them “margin refunds” – are returned to members at the end of the year. Last December, eligible Jackson EMC members received $15 million in margin refunds. This December, we’ll return $15 million in refund checks to members who received service in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2022. These margin refunds bring the total returned to members since we were founded in 1938 to $204 million.
We’re honored to be a part of the community and serving you with reliable, courteous and personalized service.