CONYERS - For an annual business meeting, Snapping Shoals Electrical Membership Corporation's Thursday gathering gave members plenty of reasons to attend. It began with the trademark yellow plastic bucket filled with goodies.
Snapping Shoals EMC members gathered in the Charles Walker Arena at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers with many carrying the yellow buckets that have been handed out for years. Along with the paper hand fan and garden rain gauge, members also carried home a cast iron frying pan engraved with the Snapping Shoals EMC logo celebrating 70 years of service.
The meeting is held every year for Snapping Shoals customers, who are members of the cooperative, to elect members of the EMC's board of directors.
The meeting also provides a reason for neighbors and friends across Snapping Shoals' eight-county service area to come together.
For Conyers resident Julian Knox Sr. and his wife, Pam, the meeting was a chance to bring grandson, Jalyn Knox, 4, and his sister, Ariha Knox, 20 months, to the event. Julian Knox said they will stay for the business meeting, but not so much to oversee the election of a new board of directors.
"We want to win the truck," he said, referring to the annual grand prize drawing of a white Ford pickup that is retired from the utility's fleet of vehicles.
"We came out last year, and we're here all day," Pam said, patting a cooler they brought carrying their lunch.
On the business side of the day, Snapping Shoals EMC officials encouraged members to practice energy efficiency and conservation because the utility is finding it more and more costly to provide electricity.
Snapping Shoals President Randall Meadows and Chairman James White said in EMC's annual report that a rate increase in the near future was a possibility as the utility tries to find more resources to meet an ever-growing demand for energy.
"The increase in plant construction costs, fuel costs and environmental operating costs to provide the cleanest energy possible will inevitably mean an increase in the cost of providing power to our consumer-members," the men said in their status report.
"As always, Snapping Shoals EMC hopes to shield our members as best we can from a wild swing in energy costs, but there are some things beyond our control," the men said in the report.
Meadows and White said Snapping Shoals and nine other EMC's formed Power4Georgians for the purpose of building a coal-burning power generation plant in Washington County.
Also, Snapping Shoals has joined Green Power EMC, a coalition of 37 EMC's from across Georgia. The coalition was formed to advance the use of renewable and more environmentally friendly power sources in Georgia. The group is currently utilizing power generated at two landfill sites and a low-impact hydroelectric facility, according to the status report.
Jay Jones can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.