Central Georgia EMC held its 82nd Annual Meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 7.  Because they are owned by their members/customers, rural electric providers must hold annual meetings to elect board of directors, approve inclusion of new members, present a financial report and minutes from the last meeting and any other administrative business. 

To make those meetings legal, the EMC’s must attract at least a quorum of members to the meetings. Central Georgia EMC offers drawings for prizes for all members who come, with many of the prizes provided by vendors who do business with EMC. This year there were drawings for 56 prizes, including lots of gift cards and a 65-inch television.

There were gift cards for the oldest man (92) and woman (98) present, the youngest baby (7 weeks), the couple married the longest (67 years) and the couple most recently married (June 2019). It so happened that the parents of the youngest baby this year won the prize for the most recently married couple last year.

Although Monroe County was well represented at the meeting, not a lot of prizes were seen heading back to Monroe. William Sowell of Forsyth took a $100 Energy Credit Certificate that he can apply to his next EMC bill. Ricky Fisher of Forsyth was picked for a $25 Amazon gift card. 

But no one who came to the Central Georgia EMC meeting left empty-handed. Of the 678 members who registered at the meeting, each one got a big white utility bucket filled with gifts. There were two LED light bulbs, a collapsible strainer, four kitchen scrapers, a heavy duty oven mitt and more in each bucket plus some gifts offered by vendors at tables near registration. Members and all the guests who accompanied them were treated to hot dog lunches of two hot dogs grilled and served by CGEMC workers, chips, soft drinks or bottled water and ice cream sandwiches. Total attendance was estimated at about 1,400.

Those attending were treated to entertainment by Master of Ceremonies Rev. Ed Hoard, a long-time pastor and motivational speaker who is presently serving First Baptist Church Zebulon. Scouts from Troop 51 in Forsyth led the pledge of allegiance to the U.S. flag to open the meeting. The scouts were David Shoemaker and Drew Patterson; they were accompanied by leaders Bobby Walker, Jill Darden and Sue Shoemaker.

Mary Persons senior Ethan Payne sang the national anthem. Payne’s voice is widely enjoyed in Central Georgia; he opened for Suzy Bogguss at Monroe Fine Arts Center in June and was a popular contestant on “American Idol” last season. Payne sang with Luke Bryan before a crowd of 50,000 at a Dallas Cowboys game with he was 13.

Central Georgia EMC board chairman D.T. Hamil welcomed members, employees and guests, especially veterans, members of law enforcement and retired EMC employees. District Attorney Jonathan Adams, Georgia House Rep. Susan Holmes and Monroe County BOC Chair Greg Tapley were among those receiving special recognition. 

Central Georgia EMC President/CEO George Weaver said he was proud to host everyone in the now completed CGEMC event space next door to its headquarters. He said the building has received its final permits and thanked Piedmont Construction for overseeing every detail. He said it was nice to be in air conditioning rather than in a hot tent outside, which was the tradition for the annual meetings for many years. The building has been named for John Fish, a long-time CGEMC administrator. 

“It will be here for a long time to come,” said Weaver.

He said 2018 was an “exciting year of progress” and CGEMC is in a strong position for now and the future. Weaver said CGEMC’s rates are the third lowest among providers of electricity in Georgia, saving members an average of $61/month or $732/year. CGEMC has 102 employees, which equates to 559 meters per employee. 

One thing CGEMC is watching for the future is the increase in electric vehicles. They now represent 2.4 percent of vehicle sales, but that is predicted to rise to 30 percent by 2027. Other things coming in the future are large scale battery storage and EMC participation in providing rural broadband. A bill passed the Georgia legislature this year to allow EMCs to provide broadband service, and Weaver said CGEMC is researching its options. 

The financial report showed CGEMC has $252.3 million in total assets and total liabilities and equity for 2018. That is up from $240.6 million in 2017. Board members Warren Holder, Linda Jordan and Everett Williams were re-elected. No other candidates for their positions were nominated. The meeting approved 666 new CGEMC members.

At the end of 2018 CGEMC served 7,623 meters in Monroe County, including three county schools, the Five Below Distribution Center, Hanson Aggregate and Southern Forest. It paid $209,007 in taxes to Monroe County. CGEMC Foundation distributed $18,511 in grants in Monroe County in 2018.

Phil Ham represents Monroe and Bibb Counties on the CGEMC Board of Directors. Bobby Melton of Monroe County is the CGEMC board attorney.