The United Nations has chosen 2012
as “The International Year of the
Cooperative” – a designation to not only
recognize the role organizations like Jackson EMC play in our economic
and social well-being, but to also encourage cooperative development.
What makes a cooperative?
Just what makes a cooperative? Although they may be in such diverse busi-
nesses as electricity, housing, day care, telecommunications, finance, health
care or agriculture, all cooperatives are member-owned and share seven
basic operating principles:
- Open and voluntary membership
- Democratic member control
- Members’ economic participation
- Autonomy and independence
- Education, training and information
- Cooperation among cooperatives
- Concern for community
Meeting a need
The first cooperative was formed in England when tradesmen banded
together to sell items they couldn’t afford as individuals, items as
basic as butter, sugar, flour, oatmeal and candles. Almost 100 years later, a group of
Northeast Georgia residents banded together to bring electricity to their
rural homes and farms when investor-owned utilities refused to serve them.
Growth and economic development
In the nearly 75 years since, Jackson EMC has played a major role in the
growth and economic development of the 10 counties we serve. Can you
picture a Northeast Georgia poultry industry without electricity to incubate
eggs, heat and cool chicken houses, provide the light that helps chicks
develop, and automatically deliver food and water? And how would the
industrial development that erupted in Gwinnett County and flowed up the
I-85, I-985 and Highway 316 corridors – creating jobs, new homes and new
tax bases as it went – have happened without an economical and reliable
power supply. All of it was made possible by a handful of determined
citizens when they formed Jackson EMC.
To say we’re proud of our cooperative heritage is truly an understatement.
And we’re equally proud of our more than 900 sister electric cooperatives –
together we serve 42 million members in 47 states, powering an area that
covers more than 75 percent of our country’s landmass.
A common goal
We all share a common goal: to provide our members – the people who own
us – with affordable, reliable electricity when and where they need it.
Together they share the costs and the benefits of this company. And
because as cooperatives we operate for the good of our members, without
regard for profits, stock price or shareholder value, their best interests drive
both our day-to-day operations and our plans for the future.
The United Nations honored us when they themed this yearlong celebration of the cooperative
business model “Cooperative Enterprises Build a
Better World.” We believe that’s true, and we’ll continue
to make sure it remains true when The International Year of the Cooperative
is just a memory.
President & CEO