News & Press
Tri-County EMC hosted its 82nd Annual Meeting on October 21. For the second year in a row, the meeting was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through voting online and by mail, more than 1,600 Tri-County EMC members participated in their cooperative’s annual election process. The membership re-elected Post 2 incumbent directors Chap Nelson (District 1: Jones, and Bibb Counties), George “Buck” Comer (District 2: Putnam, Jasper and Morgan County), and Tommy Noles (District 3: Baldwin, Wilkinson and Twiggs County).
During her address, Brenda P. Green, chairman of the Tri-County EMC Board of Directors, informed viewers that the cooperative is in good financial shape. In order to maintain that status, the board voted to enact a rate change, which became effective October 1. “The board does not take raising rates lightly, and we are proud to say we have not done so since 2014. However, it is the board’s responsibility to keep the EMC financially strong to meet our financial obligations,” said Green. “After a rate study was complete, taking into account rising operational costs and changes in the power supply portfolio as Plant Vogtle comes online next year, a cost increase was necessary for the overall well-being of the cooperative.”
As announced in the cooperative’s Current Lines newsletter in August, the impact of the rate increase will vary based on usage patterns. The average residential member, who uses about 1,000 kWhs per month, will see a monthly bill increase of about $5. Members with higher usage will see a slightly higher increase.
Green also gave background information on the steps taken to bring Tri-CoGo, Tri-County EMC’s broadband internet subsidiary, to fruition. A feasibility study, conducted in 2020, showed that an internet subsidiary business would prove to be financially viable. In addition, a survey of the membership showed an overwhelming interest in Tri-County EMC bringing another reliable high-speed internet option to the communities we serve. “From education, telemedicine, economic development, to having the world at your fingertips, the impact of having high speed internet available to all Tri-County EMC members will be huge,” said Green.
Ray Grinberg, chief executive officer of Tri-County EMC, acknowledged that
while 2021 functioned somewhat differently due to the pandemic, the cooperative’s overall goals did not change. “We have continued to operate in 2021 with the same fundamental objectives that drive our business – keeping our employees, members and the public safe; keeping the lights on; and finding ways to serve our community and make it better,” said Grinberg.
Grinberg reported that efforts continue to be made to keep the right-of-way clear of trees and limbs to reduce outages in our service area. “We have been more aggressive in tree-trimming and managing our right-of-way, and our efforts are paying off with a decreased number of outages due to right-of-way issues.”
Grinberg also reported that the cooperative is in the process of installing fiber communications throughout the service area that, in addition to allowing the opportunity to provide broadband internet, will give Tri-County the tools to improve reliability across the electric system. Once fully deployed, the cooperative will be notified of power outages immediately through the meter and fiber lines, which will allow our crews to respond more quickly. At the same time, outage times will be reduced, and in some cases eliminated, due to the added ability to reroute power from alternate sources.
Greg Mullis, chief operating officer of Tri-CoGo, gave an update on the cooperative’s rural broadband internet subsidiary, which currently has service available in portions of Jones County. “In just 105 days from construction kickoff in May, we were able to deliver high-speed broadband internet to Tri-CoGo’s first customer in September,” said Mullis. “Currently we have nearly 200 customers connected in Jones County and have service available to almost 1600 locations.”
Factoring in a few delays due to COVID-19 and a very rainy summer, Tri-CoGo is still on track to complete the fiber build-out within the projected 2-year timeframe. “We understand we are here to meet a need, and we’re working as fast as possible to get to every Tri-County EMC member.” Tri-County EMC members can sign up for Tri-CoGo internet at www.tri-cogo.com.
Ballot Drawing Winners:
Tri-County EMC distributed $50 bill credits to 10 lucky members who voted in the cooperative’s 2021 Election. Wade L. Eubanks of Putnam County won the $500 grand prize. Thanks to all members that participated in the election this year. Be sure to vote in the election next year to have a chance to win.
$50 Bill Credit Winners
Nathaniel Harris, Putnam Co.
Velinda Barnes, Jasper Co.
Videtta Rhodes, Putnam Co.
Arthur Hill, Putnam Co.
Nell Goodwin, Jones Co.
George Thistlewood, Twiggs Co.
Anthony Whipple, Jones Co.
Christopher Curry, Putnam Co.
John Harringon, Jr., Baldwin Co.
Nancy Page, Putnam Co.