|Bringing Power to the People
A History of Snapping Shoals EMC
A brief history of our co-op
It was in 1882 in lower Manhattan that Thomas Alva Edison built the first central station electric system. Soon more electric systems were being built in cities across America, and electric power began having a profound effect on the way people lived and worked. But for the families of rural America, it would be many more years before they would be able to enjoy the benefits of this exciting new form of energy. By the mid-1930s nine out of 10 rural homes in America were still without electricity. The difference between city living and country living was becoming more and more like night and day.
The problem was a simple matter of economics. Building power lines across the sparsely populated rural areas would not be cheap, and there would be little revenue in return. The existing power companies were not interested in serving areas where they could not foresee a profit.
On May 11, 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt signed an executive order which created the Rural Electrification Administration. The purpose of REA was to bring affordable electricity to rural America by providing low-interest loans for the construction of generating facilities and transmission and distribution lines. Still, the large power companies showed no interest in serving America's vast rural areas. It soon became clear that it would be the farmers themselves who would make the rural electrification program work. By forming non-profit cooperatives and applying for REA loans, the people of rural America would get the job done.
Snapping Shoals EMC Is Formed
The roots of Snapping Shoals EMC began developing with the creation of Snapping Shoals Power and Light Company on June 29, 1936. The organizers were five area men who received a loan of $90,000 to construct 90 miles of line for serving 270 consumers in Rockdale, Newton and Henry counties. The original headquarters was located at Snapping Shoals, an area on the South River between Newton and Henry counties, where a small electric generating facility was located. The first power lines were energized in November 1937.
In 1938 Snapping Shoals Power and Light became Snapping Shoals Electric Membership Corporation, a consumer-owned, non-profit cooperative, and the headquarters moved to Covington. Snapping Shoals grew rapidly as a cooperative. Growth slowed during World War II but increased again after the war. Today, most of the co-op´s service territory is within the ever-expanding metro Atlanta region and includes some of the fastest growing areas in the nation.
Snapping Shoals EMC's headquarters is now located at 14750 Brown Bridge Road in Newton County, near the center of the co-op's service area. A branch office is located on Fairview Road in Henry County (Ellenwood area).
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