CONYERS - For an annual business meeting, Snapping Shoals Electric 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 Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers with many carrying the yellow buckets that have been handed out for years. The buckets hold a paper hand fan - a useful item in the July heat - a garden rain gauge and compact fluorescent bulbs.
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.
Kelli Watkins of Covington had a bucket on the arm of the stroller in which she was pushing her 2-year-old son, Trey, toward the inflatable moon walk. She said it was her first time to attend the EMC meeting, and the bucket belonged to her mother.
Neither utility rates nor electing Board of Director members were the first thing on Watkins' mind.
"It's a lot of fun, and I'm glad to come out," Watkins said as Trey eyed the moon walk.
Meanwhile, officers of the EMC were concerned with the future, especially climate issues that may affect the cost of electricity to EMC customers.
In a letter to EMC members, Snapping Shoals EMC President and CEO Randall Meadows and Chairman of the Board of Directors James White said they are keeping a close eye on proposed federal climate change legislation that would create a carbon tax on electrical consumption.
At the annual luncheon held before the EMC business meeting, Meadows also said keeping up with expected demands for power in the coming years is a concern for the EMC.
Snapping Shoals remains committed to constructing an 850-megawatt coal-fired electric power plant in Washington County as part of Power4Georgians, a consortium of other EMCs, despite having four EMCs announce in May they would pull out of the project.
Critics of the power plant believe the plant would be harmful to the environment, and the loss of the EMCs in May makes the $1.2 billion investment to build the plant a greater financial burden on members of the remaining EMCs.
Meadows said the plant is needed as power demands are expected to increase significantly in the coming years. He added the proposed plant will be the cleanest and most efficient coal-burning facility built and that renewable and green power supplies are also part of the Power4Georgians plan to develop new energy sources.
"We're exploring all of the green alternatives to generate power, but they alone can't provide us the base capacity we need," Meadows said. "Coal still provides us with the best option."
Jay Jones can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.