HISTORY OF THE CENTRAL GEORGIA ELECTRIC MEMBERSHIP CORPORATION
On April 10, 1937, a petition for chartering The Central Georgia Electric Membership Corporation was filed, and on June 11, 1937, the organization officially came into being. Those filing the petition for charter included: G. W. Patrick of Spalding County; M. O. McCord of Butts County; A. N. Moye of Lamar County; T. F. Freeman of Monroe County; O. D. Price of Jasper County; F. C. Newton of Morgan County; and V. G. Turner of Henry County.
At the first organizational board meeting held on June 19, 1937, F. C. Newton was elected president of the Board of Directors and M. O. McCord was employed as the co-op manager. Mr. McCord and his wife were the only two office employees until December 1937, when Miss Grace Garlington was employed as bookkeeper.. A. K. Maddox of Spalding County was the first co-op attorney.
M. O. McCord served as manager from June 1937 to October 1939; E. I. Carruthers from October 1939 to 1941; R. F. Armstrong from 1941 to 1981; and R. A. O’Quinn during 1982. George L. Weaver became general manager in 1983. He is serving in this capacity presently; however, in 2016 the title was changed to president/CEO.
The first lineman was Archie Sneed and his helper was G. N. Etheredge who retired in April 1978. At that time, most of the lines were single phase.
The first loan of $202,000 was for 200 miles of line covering parts of Monroe, Spalding, Henry, Lamar, Butts, and Jasper Counties. The first section of line was energized in March 1938 and included 169 miles serving 329 consumers. The total monthly revenue was $369.19, and the power cost to Central Georgia EMC was $91.15. The first year’s annual operation report showed 573 members, 261 1/4 miles of line with a December 1938 billing of $1,610.10. The average bill per member at that time was $2.81, and the average monthly kilowatt hour consumption was 48.7 per member for a cost per kWh of 5.8 cents. The first lines were built to handle approximately 75 kilowatt hours per month per member.
The Cooperative has grown steadily to approximately 54,120 billed accounts served and 5,117 miles of line as of December 31, 2015. The average kilowatt hour consumption is 1,836 and the average monthly bill is $159.22.
Members of cooperatives such as Central Georgia EMC receive a benefit that is unique. At the end of each year, after all expenses are paid, any remaining funds are assigned to customer-owners accounts in the form of capital credits. Customer-owners can then begin to receive payments which represent funds that would otherwise be paid to stockholders of an investor-owned corporation. Capital Credits retired and paid to members are as follows:
$114,146.59 paid in 1986 for years 1951-1955;
$175,337.05 paid in 1987 for years 1956-1959;
$192,701.54 paid in 1988 for years 1960-1963;
$319,857.83 paid in 1989 for years 1964-1969;
$419,886.00 paid in 1990 for years 1970-1973;
$504,272.00 paid in 1991 for years 1974-1975;
$776,580.49 paid in 1992 for years 1976-1977;
$405,888.88 paid in 1993 for years 1978-1979;
$771,540.49 paid in 1994 for the year of 1980;
$556,232.73 paid in 1995 for the year of 1981;
$341,797.24 paid in 1996 for the year of 1982;
$624,068.33 paid in 1997 for the year of 1983;
$1,297,488.81 paid in 1998 for the year of 1984;
$1,599,296.99 paid in 1999 for the year of 1985;
$956,467.02 paid in 2000 for one-half the year of 1986;
$971,164.26 paid in 2001 for the balance of the year of 1986;
$1,279,814.36 paid in 2002 for one-half the year of 1987;
$1,279.633.52 paid in 2003 for the balance of the year of 1987;
$2,177,511.84 paid in 2004 for the year of 1988;
$2,234,846.35 paid in 2005 for the year of 1989;
$920,596.88 paid in 2006 for one-half of the year of 1990;
$924,877.11 paid in 2007 for the balance of the year of 1990;
$819,580.87 paid in 2008 for one-half of the year of 1991;
$825,673.01 paid in 2009 for the balance of the year of 1991;
$969,758.01 paid in 2010 for one-half of the year of 1992;
$974,754.51 paid in 2011 for the balance of the year of 1992;
$2,195,754.51 paid in 2012 for the year of 1993;
$2,175,056.09 paid in 2013 for the year of 1994 and for one-half the year of 1995;
$1,984,781.70 paid in 2014 for the one-half the year of 1995 and one-half the year of 1996;
$1,842,055.40 paid in 2015 for one-half the year of 1996 and one-half of 1997;
$2,392,988.97 paid in 2016 for the remaining margins from 1997 and majority margins 1998;
$2,405,076.38 paid in 2017 for the remaining margins from 1998, the entire year of 1999, and a portion of the year 2000.
Central Georgia EMC serves parts of the following counties: Bibb, Butts, Clayton, Fayette, Henry, Jasper, Jones, Lamar, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Pike, Putnam, and Spalding.
DEVELOPMENT OF THE REA (CURRENTLY RUS) MOVEMENT
The “Rural Electric Program” is the term commonly used to embrace the many segments of the non-profit cooperative industry which supplies electricity to rural areas. Sometimes called the “Rural Electrification Administration Program (currently Rural Utilities Service),” after the government agency which lends funds for rural electrification. Used in this sense, however, “RUS” is an over simplification. The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is a vital part of the overall rural electric program.
In the early 1930’s only the urban areas had central station electricity. The vast rural areas of America did not have access to the wonders of electricity. During this time, less than 3% of rural America received the benefits of electric service.
After Franklin D. Roosevelt became President in 1933, he used the persuasive powers of his office in an attempt to get the investor owned electric companies to expand their services into the rural areas. When they would not do this, the President signed an executive order on May 11, 1935, creating the Rural Electrification Administration (REA). The intent of this Act and these funds was to make low interest money available to the investor owned companies making providing electric service throughout rural America economically feasible.
The investor-owned companies did not accept the financial encouragement of President Roosevelt; so, Senator George W. Norris of Nebraska and Congressman Sam Rayburn of Texas, introduced bills in the U. S. Congress to set up a permanent REA agency. On May 21, 1936, the President signed the Rural Electrification Administration Act. Shortly thereafter, each of these states passed legislation enabling the formation of non-profit cooperatives, so that these co-ops could apply for loan funds from REA.
The “REA Movement” spread rapidly throughout the nation. Farmers joined together, formed electric cooperatives, secured REA loan funds, obtained easements for distribution lines, and the electrification of rural America was underway. The movement has not only electrified 99% of the rural area in America, but the idea has spread and is operative in many foreign countries.
Today, RUS, as part of the U. S. Department of Agriculture is still an active and viable government agency. Loan funds are not only available to electric and telephone cooperatives to help them improve and expand services to members throughout America, but also generation and transmission cooperatives.
The “REA Movement” has proven to be one of the most exciting and fulfilling programs ever initiated. With electric energy available, the urban people, working out of the overcrowded cities, are moving into rural areas bringing with them businesses and services to meet their needs. Consequently, agriculture and industry have blended together, making rural areas a strong and vibrant economic force. Cooperatives, through the “REA Movement,” helped to make this happen.