Chamber Member Spotlight: Altamaha EMC
Altamaha Electric Membership Corporation was chartered as a member-owned cooperative in May 1936 with headquarters in Lyons. Although most cities already had electricity when Altamaha EMC was organized, less than 10 percent of the nation’s farms and rural residents were so fortunate because private power companies refused to serve unprofitable areas. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 7037 in 1935, creating the Rural Electrification Administration (REA). This program offered low-interest loans for “lighting up” rural America. However, when the private power companies that obtained the loans still chose only to serve the more profitable areas, the Rural Electrification Act was passed in 1936, enabling and encouraging non-profit organizations to apply for loans. In May 1936, a few brave men with pioneering spirits then banded together to bring the power to rural areas of Toombs County.
With the triumph of building the power lines that bridged the gap between city and country dwellers, making electricity available in rural areas, has come much adversity. By the mid-1940s, AEMC saw a slowdown of construction and operations due to World War II and a scarcity of needed wire and materials. The late ‘40s brought better times and teeming construction. With the ‘50s came the task of teaching rural members the advantages of using electrical appliances as they became available. By this time, black and white television sets had made their debut in living rooms across the country. The ‘70s ushered in high inflation, the oil embargo, and the energy crisis, the ’80s brought energy audits, conservation measures, and steadily increasing wholesale power costs, and the ‘90s delivered a changing electric utility industry environment with the likelihood of deregulation and competition ahead.
However, throughout the years, people working together with a cooperative spirit at AEMC have continued to get things done. Even though the REA program was abolished many years ago, Altamaha EMC has been able to maintain its financing through local and national sources to keep up with the new construction and residences across its seven-county system. Since 1936, Altamaha EMC has been committed to providing quality, reliable electric service at competitive prices. The company faces the future with confidence that it will meet the challenges and overcome whatever obstacles come its way. After all, EMC has the experience and proven track record that establishes it as a leader in the industry.
With 58 employees, Altamaha EMC provides electrical services with a goal to meet the electrical demands of members. The corporation is very involved in the community, offering Community Impact Grants available through their Operation Round Up program and impacting youth through the Washington Youth Tour, the Walter Harrison Scholarship, Altamaha EMC Foundation Scholarships, and free safety programs for schools. Altamaha EMC is a member of the chamber as a way to support local communities.
An interesting fact about AEMC is that the corporation serves over 20,693 meters in seven counties: Emanuel, Johnson, Laurens, Montgomery, Tattnall, Toombs, and Treutlen.
Headquarters: 611 W. Liberty Ave., Lyons
730 U.S. Highway 1 South, Swainsboro
Hours of Operation
Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
24-hour on-call dispatch
Lineworker Appreciation Day
Lineworker Appreciation Day falls April 12 this year. Consequently, Altamaha EMC provided the following letter, just in time to accompany their Chamber Member Spotlight.
“If you were asked to associate an image or a person with Altamaha EMC, I bet you would picture a lineman. One of the most visible employees of the co-op, linemen work tirelessly to ensure our community receives uninterrupted power 24/7.
“Lineman” is listed as one of the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the U.S. This is understandable as they perform detailed tasks near high-voltage power lines. Regardless of the time of day, having to brave stormy weather and other challenging conditions, linemen must climb 40 feet in the air, often carrying heaving equipment to get the job done.
Being a lineman is not a glamorous or easy profession. It takes years of specialized training, ongoing education, dedication, and equally important, a sense of service and commitment. How else can you explain the willingness to leave the comfort of your home to tackle a challenging job in difficult conditions, when most are sheltering comfortably at home? This dedication and sense of service to the community is truly what sets them apart. That’s why the second Monday in April is set aside to celebrate and recognize those who work around the clock to keep the lights on.
While linemen may be the most visible employees at Altamaha EMC, it’s important to note that there is a team of highly skilled professionals working behind the scenes. Engineers provide ongoing expertise and guidance on the operations side of the co-op. Member service representatives are always standing by to take your calls and questions. Our information technology (IT) experts are continuously monitoring our system to help safeguard sensitive data. And these are just a few of the folks who work together to ensure we can deliver the service and reliability you expect and deserve. Without them, our linemen wouldn’t be able to “bring the light” to our community.
Our dedicated and beloved linemen are proud to represent Altamaha EMC, and they deserve all the appreciation and accolades that came their way on Lineman Appreciation Day.”