2016 Report to Members
If your electricity comes from Jackson EMC, you’re a member of this cooperative and that’s a big deal to us. It’s our mission to exceed member expectations with reliable, courteous and personalized service. To do that, we stay member-focused.
We think about reliability for our members when we invest in our infrastructure. This year, we’ve invested $39 million in the distribution network that serves you. We’ve continued to invest in technology to keep the power on for members. This year we installed an additional 48 automated reclosers, bringing the total on our system to 180. This improves our ability to respond to outages by replacing manually-operated switches with reclosers that can operate independently, as well as remotely by our System Control Center, to keep the power on. Once installed, they help keep more members from losing power in the first place, and restore power more quickly when outages do occur. Next year, we’ll add 48 more and so on until we’ve added 350 of these switches. In the meantime, we’ll continue looking for cutting-edge technology that improves reliability.
Today, we’re providing service to more members than ever before. We have nearly 221,000 meters using 5.17 billion kilowatt hours of electricity annually. Residential growth is picking up. Last year, we added 3,447 meters. For the first time since the recession began in 2008, we added more than a hundred miles of new wire. These are signs of the building boom we’re experiencing in Hall, Jackson and Barrow counties. We put twice as many new meters in Jackson County in 2015 than we did in 2014. Hall County’s Mundy Mill and Cresswind are selling new homes faster than any other developments in the state, and we’re proud they’re Jackson EMC Right Choice Homes.
We added 25 megawatts of competitive load from large businesses who chose Jackson EMC. Commercial businesses make up 10 percent of our membership, but use 40 percent of the electricity, making them key players in keeping costs low. The businesses added this year also brought thousands of jobs to the area.
Seventy-eight years ago a group of people came together to form this cooperative to bring electricity to their homes and farms to make life better and easier. They improved life for their neighbors, too. Over the past ten years Jackson EMC members have given more than $11 million back to the community through the Operation Round Up program. These monthly contributions are awarded to organizations and individuals in need through grants from the Jackson EMC Foundation and make our community stronger.
Last October, Jackson EMC funded $50,608 in Bright Ideas innovation grants to provide necessary tools and technology for classroom teachers so they could bring their ideas to life. This money went into 36 classrooms across our service territory. Next month, we’ll award another $50,000 in grants for innovative learning.
Courteous, Personalized Service
To ensure we are providing the courteous, personalized service we want to deliver, we ask for your feedback. Ranked by our members, and according to the most recent J.D. Power and Associates awards, Jackson EMC is second in the nation in Residential Customer Satisfaction.
The results of our member satisfaction survey echo these high marks. Ninety-three percent of members who responded gave a high rating of satisfaction noting strengths such as Jackson EMC is a good citizen in the community (94%) well-managed (93%) and concerned about its member’s needs (92%). We are happy to hear we are meeting your expectations. But, we strive to be the best so we are always working to improve. With the feedback provided through these research results, we work to continuously address the areas important to our members, such as providing timely information on outages (88%).
To be the BEST
To help us achieve our vision of being the best, we’ve reorganized the way we do things to better serve the needs of our members. We’ve restructured to align all functions that provide services to members under a Chief Operating Officer, Roy Stowe, and all functions that provide essential support services under a Chief Financial Officer, Greg Keith. This realignment will harness the teamwork of the functions that directly provide service to our members, and do the same for the functions that provide internal support required to make that service possible.
In October we’ll open our new Lawrenceville facility to meet the needs of our growing membership. We’re also serving our members by researching new water heater technology. New regulations from the U.S. Department of Energy require any new water heater larger than 55 gallons be connected to a load management system. Jackson EMC’s been using load management technology for 20 years to reduce peak demand and save members money, but these water heaters are different because they communicate wirelessly and could open the door for additional wireless technology down the road. We have 50 people testing this system now.
Jackson EMC’s also responding to growing interest in solar energy. We signed on for a portion of the power from several solar installations across the state. System-wide, Jackson EMC members receive nearly 17 million kWh of solar-generated electricity each year; that’s enough to power 1,100 homes. We’ve signed up for a third project in Jeff Davis County that will generate an additional million kWh for our members every month beginning in 2018. And, we continue to support a residential solar program to provide interested members with solar site surveys, financing and rebates.
Today, our cooperative and our community is very 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”—is returned to members at the end of the year. Last December, eligible Jackson EMC members received $6.5 million in margin refunds. This December, we will mail $7.5 million in refunds to more than 220,000 members who received service in 1990 and/or 2015. With this refund, Jackson EMC has returned $115.5 million to our members since its founding in 1938.