Walton EMC is a Co-Op
Rural electric cooperatives began back in 1935 when the Rural Electric Administration (REA) was created with the help of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The REA's goal was to provide electricity to rural areas and jobs during hard times.
Walton EMC started in 1936 to supply electricity to rural consumers whom investor-owned utilities refused to serve.
The Cooperative Principles
All co-ops operate by a few basic principles. Cooperatives trace the roots of these principles to the first modern cooperative founded in Rochdale, England, in 1844.
- Voluntary and Open Membership
Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership.
- Democratic Member Control
Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions.
- Members' Economic Participation
Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative.
- Autonomy and Independence
Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members.
- Education, Training, and Information
Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives.
- Cooperation Among Cooperatives
Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together.
- Concern for Community
While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities.
A Direct Voice
Members have a direct voice in the way Walton EMC operates. Each year on the third Saturday in June, the co-op holds an annual meeting to take care of necessary business. The meeting is held at the Walton County Agricultural Education Center on Criswell Road in Monroe, Georgia.
Besides business, the meeting also features entertainment, door prizes and children's activities. Many years, exhibits such as health screenings are also scheduled.
Who Finances Walton EMC?
Walton EMC is financed by the Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC). CFC is not affiliated with the government or Rural Utilities Service, thus Walton EMC does not receive government loans.
As a cooperative, Walton EMC operates on a nonprofit basis - we're not in business to make money, but to provide a service to our customer-owners. By definition, a cooperative is "an enterprise that is collectively owned and operated for the mutual benefit of all members." One of these benefits is the generation, accumulation and return of capital. Capital credits are your share of the earnings of Walton EMC.
Capital credits are based solely on patronage; therefore, the more electricity is purchased, the more capital credits are earned and eventually returned to the member. Electric rates are set so the co-op charges slightly more than the actual cost of providing electric power. The margins are used to pay for capital investments including poles, wire and equipment. By "borrowing" from the members instead of lending institutions, your cooperative is able to reduce its cost of doing business.
A customer-owner's share of excess revenues is credited back to your "capital credits" account annually. Each year, the board of directors, whom you elect, determines when some portion of your capital credits may be refunded. These refunds are reflected as a credit on your power bill. In each of the past several years, Walton EMC has made a refund of $3 million, which is shared by customer-owners.