More than 1,000 members and guests gathered Aug. 1 at the Dalton Convention Center to take part in North Georgia Electric Membership Corporation's (NGEMC) annual meeting. During the business portion of the meeting, members re-elected Kathy Welch as director representing Murray County and John Howard as the director to represent Walker County.

The cooperative also paid tribute to Catoosa County Director Gerald Lowery, who passed away July 4.

"Jerry, as we all knew him, was a close friend and was dedicated to our cooperative," said board Vice-Chairman Ted Clark. "He served as our board chairman, faithfully representing Catoosa's members inside the board room and out in the community, leading our co-op through many changes and technological advancements."

The cooperative's fiscal year report included the purchase of more than 2.5 billion kilowatt-hours from the Tennessee Valley Authority; investment of $17 million in equipment and facilities for increased reliability; service to more than 100,000 meters; engineering of 5,645 system improvements and new services; installation of 4,540 poles; and maintenance and operation of 35 substations and more than 6,400 miles of line.

Following the business report, NGEMC power delivery engineers Allyn Walls and Kyle Barfield gave a virtual tour of an NGEMC substation, describing the role of various equipment.

"Substations require extensive research, planning and capital," said Barfield, NGEMC's manager of power delivery. "They are expensive to build, but critical to delivering power to a large distribution system like North Georgia EMC's."

Walls, a power delivery engineer, said that NGEMC's substations are strategically located within the seven-county service territory based on the load requirements of each area.

"The stations are connected to allow for redundancy and reliability, so if we need to take one down for maintenance, we can temporarily serve that load through another substation," Walls explained.

In her address, NGEMC President and CEO Kathryn West recognized NGEMC retirees and employees for their part in delivering safe, reliable power to the communities of northwest Georgia.

"As the video conveyed, community is truly the heartbeat of our purpose," she stated, in reference to the co-op's 2019 annual report video production titled "Community, the Heart of it All."

"Each co-op employee depends on that heartbeat. Community is where our families live, work and play. Community is the places and people we go home to each evening — or morning — in the case of line crews and others who work through the night. Community is the family of people we serve," West said.

At the meeting, members enjoyed a variety of booths and exhibits as well as entertainment by the Earl Brackin Band of Dalton. American Legion Post 167 of Chatsworth presented the colors before the meeting, and local law enforcement officers led the Pledge of Allegiance.

NGEMC is a consumer-owned, not-for-profit cooperative providing electricity to members in Catoosa, Chattooga, Floyd, Gordon, Murray, Walker and Whitfield counties.

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