The not-for-profit member-owned electric cooperative received its charter from the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) on Apr. 23, 1937
“Today brings back a lot of great memories,” said Autry. “But the most important memory is that of members working together to create a lasting organization to meet their own needs.”
Celebrating its 75th year of service in 2012 (incorporated in 1937), Flint Energies flintenergies.com provides energy services to residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural members in parts of 17 central Georgia counties.
From a modest beginning serving just 90 members, today Flint has 240 employees and serves more than 84,400 meters. Flint's physical plant consists of more than 6,406 miles of distribution line and 50 substations located within Bibb, Chattahoochee, Crawford, Dooly, Harris, Houston, Macon, Marion, Monroe, Muscogee, Peach, Schley, Sumter, Taylor, Talbot, Twiggs and Upson Counties.
“Though we are a not-for-profit organization, Flint expects revenues of more than $190 million in 2012,” Autry said. “And Flint’s members direct a corporation with more than $300 million in assets….one-third of a billion dollars.” “This organization is a very strong 75 years old,” Autry said.
“What really sets us apart is our payment of capital credits,” Autry continued. “They are the retained margins left over at the end of each year and are the most significant source of equity for most cooperatives. Capital credits are somewhat similar to the dividends that investor-owned utilities pay to their shareholders.”
“The difference is that the Cooperative’s “shareholders” are also the people that it serves and the “dividends” (capital credits) are distributed to those member/consumers. Capital credits reflect each member’s ownership in the cooperative,” said Autry. “Flint has paid back to its members every dollar of patronage earned from our first day in 1937 through a portion of 1984.”
Flint (flintenergies.com) is the eighth largest of Georgia's 42 EMCs and the 36th largest of the nation's nearly 1,000 rural electric cooperatives.
Excerpt from the Flint Energies History:
On March 21, 1937, Taylor County residents G. Leonard Cooper, Floyd C. Jarrell, J. Howard Neisler, Emory F. Parr and George Z. Young applied for a charter to incorporate a rural electric cooperative, Taylor County Electric Membership Corporation. REA granted the charter April 23, 1937, officially organizing the cooperative. These same citizens served as the first board of directors. The Board elected Emory Parr president, Howard Neisler vice president, and Leonard Cooper secretary-treasurer.
Leonard Cooper later became temporary project manager, and Sims Garrett of Charing succeeded him on the Board. C. Brown Marshall of Reynolds served as the cooperative’s attorney through its early stages. The venture, though organized and staffed well, still had no physical means of providing power.
The cooperative opened bids for line construction May 28, 1937. The co-op awarded the construction contract to the Aldrich Construction Company of Augusta and the engineering contract to J.B. McCrary Company of Atlanta. They were to build 46.7 miles of line to serve 90 families in Crowell and Wesley in northern Taylor County. The REA loan to finance this initial project was $50,000.
Louise Waters (Mrs. Woodfin Hinton) was hired September 5, 1937, as a part-time secretary and bookkeeper, working from home. Louise Hill went to work January 1, 1938, as the first full-time employee.
Flint hired Sam Hobbs, who worked with the construction contractor, as a service and maintenance man in February 1938. A little known fact about Sam Hobbs, a gruff and crusty man, is that he had a heart of gold. Many times when going out to collect an overdue electric bill, he would find sickness or other trouble in the home. He would return to the office and pay the bill out of his pocket.
Flint Energies 75th Anniversary Events for members continue this week with the Strawberry Festival in Reynolds on Friday and Saturday, Apr. 27-28.