News & Press
Members of Tri-County EMC, employees and local and state dignitaries gathered on October 15 for the 76th Annual Meeting of Tri-County EMC at the headquarters in Gray, GA. The cooperative’s CEO, C. Hill Bentley, gave an overview of last year’s accomplishments and addressed the challenges of the coming years. Billy Jerles, Tri-County EMC Attorney, announced election results for the board of directors. The elected board members for Post 2 were Chester Mercer (District 1), George “Buck” Comer (District 2), and Tommy Noles (District 3). These members will serve three-year terms. The 36 proposed bylaw changes also included on the ballot passed by a majority.
During the meeting, special recognition was given to Tom Thompson, Jr., acknowledging his retirement after 30 years of service on the Tri-County EMC board of directors. “It’s been a great privilege to work with the staff and the board. I’ve never worked with a greater group of people than the employees, the staff and the board at Tri-County.” Comer defeated Cary Walton by a vote of 555 to 451 to fill this vacancy.(71042001)
Bentley, who has served as CEO of Tri-County EMC since 1998, announced his retirement, effective April 2016. “It’s been my honor and my privilege to serve these members and this board and especially to work with these employees,” said Bentley.
Bentley shared Tri-County’s plans to construct a 1MW cooperative solar project in Eatonton. The project will allow a member to purchase energy from a panel on the Tri-County site as an alternative to putting a solar panel on his home. The project will provide power at a competitive rate for the next 25 years while adding to the tax base of the City of Eatonton and Putnam County. “I’ve said in the past that when solar becomes good business, we will do solar,” said Bentley. “It’s become good business.”
Tri-County EMC continues to work on a statewide level to develop a plan to comply with EPA regulations without being crippling to the state. “The EPA would like to see us shut down Plant Scherer.” Bentley said. “We think we’ve found a way to combat that and be able to continue to run one of the largest and most efficient coal plants in the nation. And keep it operational.” To comply with these regulations, Tri-County’s use of coal continues to decrease, making up only 21% of the current fuel mix.
Bentley also spoke about Tri-County’s goal of keeping operating costs and rates low. “Out of every dollar we take in, we operate our system on 15.5 cents,” said Bentley. “That’s one of the lowest operating costs in the state.” In addition, the summer PSC rate survey results showed Tri-County as 6th lowest rate in the state at the 2,000 kWh level.
In addition to these accomplishments, during the past year the cooperative awarded seven scholarships to students, sent two students on a week-long tour of Washington D.C., sponsored a student in the Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp at the FFA Center in Covington and sent a young couple to the Cooperative Education Conference for Couples. (83901001)
Five Tri-County EMC employees and three directors were recognized with Service Awards and are listed below:
Selia Smith, Control Center Operator, 5 years
Becky Killgo, Bookkeeper, 10 years
Lee Witcher, Lead Line Tech, 10 years
William Hubbard, Senior Control Center Operator, 15 years
Marion Nelson, Director, 15 years
Mike Rainey, Director, 20 years
Cindy Thomason, Senior Billing and Customer Service Agent, 20 years
Tom Thompson, Jr., Director, 30 years