Sawnee Electric Membership Corporation (Sawnee EMC) wasn't around on the night the lights went out in Georgia, but it plans to make sure they stay on. The electric distribution cooperative serves about 152,000 residential, commercial and industrial meters in a seven-county area of northern Georgia comprised of Cherokee, Dawson, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hall, and Lumpkin counties. Residential customers in the area (which includes the sprawling Atlanta suburbs) account for two-thirds of electricity usage. While small and medium users must get their electricity from Sawnee, potential customers with loads exceeding 900 kilowatts can shop around. Sawnee EMC distributes electricity over 9,970 miles of power line.
The cooperative provides its members with the option of gas service through a partnership with Coweta-Fayette EMC Natural Gas, a subsidiary of fellow Georgia-based power co-op Coweta-Fayette EMC. In 2010 it had 16,000 Sawnee EMC customers participating in this arrangement.
As part of its commitment to green energy, Sawnee EMC has also teamed up with Green-e Energy, a leading national renewable energy certification and verification program, to offer certified renewable power to Sawnee EMC members. It is encouraging its members to conserve energy and help keep down costs, offering home energy audits, installing Smart meters, and encouraging the use of energy-efficient light bulbs.
In 2010 Sawnee EMC reported a jump in revenues and operating income, thanks to a growth in its membership and higher energy use due to a hotter-than-usual summer.
The company was founded as the Forsyth County Electric Membership Corporation in 1938 as part of the Roosevelt government's national rural electrification drive. It was renamed for local landmark Sawnee Mountain in 1950. – less