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Perspective: Cooperate is the key word

To win ballgames, Little Leaguers must play cooperatively with their teammates. To reach a goal, groups know their members must cooperate with each other to move forward. Even toddlers realize that if they want dessert, they’re more likely to receive it after cooperating with their parents to eat dinner.

The poet John Donne had it right when he penned, “No man is an island.” It’s a fact of life: Not much happens until folks cooperate with each other. But when they do, Wow! Big things can be accomplished.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines cooperate: to work or act together toward a common end or purpose, or, to form an association for common, usually economic, benefit.

That’s exactly what the founders of Jackson EMC did in 1938 when they banded together to bring electricity to the rural homes and farms of northeast Georgia. It’s what hundreds of other farm families throughout the United States did, too, after private and public utilities denied them affordable access to rural electricity.

As an electric membership corporation (EMC), Jackson EMC is a cooperative, an autonomous association of people united to meet a common need through joint ownership. Like the other 40 electric cooperatives in Georgia, Jackson EMC is a not-for-profit business that’s governed by the very customers it serves, our members.

Like all cooperatives, electric or otherwise, we operate under two requirements: that we operate at cost and by democratic governance. To meet these requirements, we return revenue above what’s needed to run the co-op back to our members, and each member is called upon to consider and vote on cooperative business.

As a distribution cooperative, Jackson EMC acquires electricity from various sources and distributes it to homes, farms, schools, businesses and other members on our lines. With our fellow Georgia EMCs through the years, we’ve formed statewide cooperatives that facilitate the generation, transmission and distribution of electric power. These include:

  • Oglethorpe Power Corporation, our generation cooperative;
  • Georgia Transmission Corporation, which owns, operates and maintains the integrated transmission system and sells transmission services to the EMCs in Georgia; and
  • Georgia System Operations Corporation, which operates the system and schedules generation needs.

In addition, we belong to Georgia EMC, our statewide trade association, which provides a unified voice to the state’s electric cooperatives through advocacy, education and communication. And we work and network with cooperatives outside our industry as well, such as Georgia Farm Bureau, the state’s largest voluntary agricultural organization.

Across the nation, October is Cooperative Month. At Jackson EMC, we understand the meaning of cooperate and, as your electric cooperative, we work to cooperate year-round with you, our members, as well as our peers in electric cooperative and related industries. It’s amazing what we accomplish together.