Walton EMC Customer-Owners Get Message of Renewed Growth at Annual Meeting

MONROE, Ga. -- Thousands of Walton Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) customer-owners and their families at the cooperative’s recent annual meeting learned that requests for new electric service are on an upward trend.

“Georgia is growing again,” said CEO Ronnie Lee. “We see new homes and businesses coming out of the ground all around us. In just 20 years, our state is expected to grow by 4.6 million more people. That’s double the amount of people who moved here since 2000.”

Lee told the group that planning for the electricity needs of growth on this scale must be done decades in advance. “It became essential to build more power plants. Construction on two new units at Plant Vogtle began in 2009 and is still underway today,” said Lee.

Although the company building the plants, Westinghouse, has recently been in the news for bankruptcy, Lee said the decision to expand Vogtle was still a good one.

“The main thing you need to know is that whatever happens, your co-op’s board and management are looking out for you and will do whatever is in your best interest,” said Lee.

Customer-owners also learned Walton EMC continues to have some of the state’s lowest rates – and even when costs rise and increases become necessary -- they should remain reasonable.

“The recent [Georgia Public Service Commission] report for the winter season showed that we were one of the least-priced electric utilities in the state,” said Board Chair Dan Chelko. “I’m very proud to report that we are financially sound and our employees are dedicated to supporting our mission of reliable energy at the lowest possible cost.”

Chelko also talked about the challenge of cybersecurity. “The subject…comes up at meetings with other cooperative leaders at local, state and national meetings,” said Chelko. “Guidelines and regulations are in place to keep our systems safe and reliable.”

Three directors were re-elected to three-year terms. Those include Tommy Adcock of the Good Hope district, Dan Chelko of the Centerville-South Snellville district and Michael Lowder of the Farmington district.

Customer-owners also enjoyed entertainment, kids’ activities, a health fair and door prizes. Crystal Paden of Loganville won the grand prize -- a retired Ford pickup.

The annual meeting gives Walton EMC customer-owners the opportunity to hear updates and elect representatives from among themselves to run their cooperative.

Walton EMC is a customer-owned power company that serves 127,000 accounts over its 10-county service area between Atlanta and Athens.

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