Perspective: Cooperatives Build
Did you ever just want to build something? Have a hankering to get in the garage or shop or the craft room and work on a project? For me, these are satisfying times; using my hands and tools to get something done.
My wife is particularly good at projects like these. She’s a quilter. It’s amazing to watch her take small pieces of material and put them together into a beautiful quilt. Her work reminds me about how co-ops work; all the pieces coming together to build something really amazing.
Cooperatives build. That statement can mean so many things. And I think it’s fitting as we talk about cooperatives across the nation this month. October is “National Cooperatives Month.”
In 1938, Jackson EMC was literally just trying to build lines to carry electricity to the rural homes and farms in northeast Georgia. They needed to come together to make it happen, so a cooperative was formed. 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. Georgia has 41 electric cooperatives that helped build the network of wire that powers the homes and businesses in our state. These are not-for-profit businesses governed by the people they serve, members like you.
Cooperatives build jobs. Electricity is a requirement for industry in our area. Can you imagine running Kubota’s half-million square-foot manufacturing facility without it? Or filling orders in the new Amazon fulfillment center without the needed power? These two businesses alone employ more than 1,000 people and Jackson EMC supplies their power. Kubota has several facilities served by Jackson EMC, so does Toyota. These companies like doing business with us because we have a reputation for reliable service. We take pride in providing service that exceeds our member’s expectations and as cooperative, we are run by our members and operate at cost, which allows us to provide exceptional service at a cost that is 15 percent lower than almost everyone else in the state.
Working together with our local Chambers of Commerce, Industrial Development Authorities and Georgia Electric Membership Corporation, we work to build the tax base in our communities by attracting businesses to our area. Jackson EMC serves more than 221,000 meters. Less than 10 percent of those are in large commercial operations, but those meters use more than 40 percent of the energy.
To us, it’s not just about keeping the lights on. Obviously, that’s what we do and we work really hard to make sure everyone stays safe and comfortable in their homes, businesses and schools. But, we care about our members and building our communities. You’ll read about the Foundation in this issue of JEMCO News, and while we are proud to facilitate this program, which is what our members do for the community. That’s your money going back into your community. It’s a great example of how a group of people can come together with a common goal and make amazing things happen, just like that group did 78 years ago when we started running wire at Jackson EMC.
Across the U.S. we are celebrating the power of cooperatives this month. At Jackson EMC, we work every day to be the best cooperative we can for our members, our community and our world. Do you have an idea about how we can be the best cooperative, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.