Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - 14

Currents

News from Georgia's electric co-ops * Compiled by Amy Schneider

EMCs respond to COVID-19

T

he 41 electric membership cooperatives (EMCs) in
Georgia were quick to respond to COVID-19, the pandemic that struck the nation in full force beginning in
March. EMCs carefully balanced member service with the
well-being of members, employees and communities.
EMCs regularly communicated with members on
social media and other channels about their steps to assist
members while continuing critical business operations.
These included temporarily suspending disconnections for
nonpayment, offering alternative payment arrangements
and implementing safety protocols based on recommendations from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) and local health care providers.
Here are a few of the efforts that EMCs have made amid
the COVID-19 crisis.

To help members facing financial difficulties during the
pandemic, the board of directors of Sawnee EMC approved
a special general
retirement of patronage capital,
totaling about
$10 million, for
all members
who received
service in 2019.
Current qualifying members
were expected to
see this refund
applied to their
April electric
statement.
The board also delayed a base-rate increase, which was
scheduled to go into effect on April 2, until July 1.
The Sawnee Electric Membership Foundation's board
of directors awarded $200,000 to 20 food pantries in the
Sawnee EMC service area. The funds came from the EMC's
Operation Round Up program, in which members round up
their monthly bills to the nearest dollar and the difference
goes into a fund for charitable causes in the community.

Blue Ridge Mountain EMC, Young Harris, and
Habersham EMC, Clarkesville
With families and individuals forced to do schoolwork
and perform jobs remotely, Blue Ridge Mountain EMC and
Habersham EMC (through its internet affiliate, Trailwave)
temporarily deployed free Wi-Fi services at locations in their
service territories. These sites offered high-quality wireless

14

Georgia Magazine

May 2020

ERIK BRINKE / BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAIN EMC

GEORGIA ELECTRIC MEMBERSHIP CORP.

Sawnee EMC, Cumming

Blue Ridge Mountain EMC fiber-optic technician Ben Krokonko
installs a Wi-Fi antenna on Murphy First United Methodist Church in
Cherokee County, N.C. The location is one of nine in the co-op's service
area at which it is offering free Wi-Fi access to students, teachers,
families and remote workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

signals using a high-speed fiber network. People could park
nearby and connect to the service.

Carroll EMC, Carrollton
Carroll EMC donated 300 masks to Tanner Medical
Center in Carrollton and encouraged other businesses and
individuals to donate N95-rated face masks to health care
facilities and medical professionals.

Cobb EMC and Cobb EMC Community Foundation,
Marietta
Cobb EMC and the Cobb EMC Community Foundation
gave more than $10,000 to support community relief efforts.
Employees donated to local organizations feeding families
and seniors and collected books for civilians in quarantine
at Dobbins Air Reserve Base and the Clay National Guard
Center, both in Marietta.



Georgia Magazine - May 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - May 2020

Contents
Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - 4
Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - 5
Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - 6
Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - 7
Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - 8
Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - 9
Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - 10
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Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - Cover4
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