EMC leaders, including Georgia EMC President/CEO Dennis Chastain, appeared Monday on RFD-TV to discuss the important role that electric co-ops play in rural communities. During an interview on the network's Market Day Report, Chastain discussed the important role that EMCs play in economic development throughout the state and in local communities.
“We are locally owned and locally managed, so when you come into a community that is served by electric cooperatives, you are basically investing with your neighbors and your friends who are going to be living right alongside of you. Electric cooperative employees are there, easily accessible to meet your business needs and they are also going to support your local businesses as well,” said Chastain.
“Co-ops operate under a set of guiding principles and one of those is concern for community. So it is very important for us to be involved in local economic development to help our communities grow. Studies have shown that our members expect us to be involved in growing the economy of the local community and it helps our businesses as well, because if the economy is strong and the quality of life is good for the citizens there, it helps our businesses also.”
Chastain also discussed how electric cooperatives across the nation work together during power restoration after severe weather like recent Hurricane Irma.
"At the height of the storm, we had 550,000 customers out of power," said Chastain. "Ohio and 15 other states sent crews to help us, so at one time we had 1,500 additional men from 16 other states who were helping us restore power. We were able to get 99 percent of those 550,000 people back on within five days. That would have never happened without the help from Ohio and those other co-ops. And the good news is, when they have those types of problems later, our Georgia linemen are going to be more than happy to go and return the favor.”
EMC leaders from across Georgia and the nation were in Nashville this week for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association's annual meeting. Monday's segment was filmed at RFD-TV in Nashville, the nation’s first 24-hour television network featuring programming focused solely on agribusiness, equine and rural lifestyles, along with traditional country music and entertainment. RFD-TV is a leading independent cable channel available in more than 50 million homes on DISH Network, DIRECTV®, AT&T U-Verse, Charter Spectrum, Cox, Comcast, Mediacom, Suddenlink, and many other rural cable systems.