Good grief. When last I noticed Margaret Newkirk’s writing in the AJC, she was writing sensationally about nuclear power killing kids. You had to get into the story to realize she was actually writing about a survey proven dubious at best, but most likely wholly fraudulent. She had a habit of glossing over some key facts in that article and this gloss over pattern continues.
Today, she is at it again over Cobb EMC. For starters, let me say that Cobb EMC has gotten a bit too big for its britches. But the hyperbole in Ms. Newkirk’s article far exceeds anything Cobb has done. As regular readers know, I spent a year working for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association in Washington, and I know a bit about EMC’s from my time there.
Let’s delve in, shall we?
She starts out like this:
Seventy years ago, a group of farmers northwest of Atlanta joined a power-to-the-people movement then sweeping rural America.
They ponied up a few bucks apiece, took out federal loans and formed a customer-owned rural electric cooperative, eventually bringing lights, washing machines and daily iced tea to an area too poor and sparsely populated to interest the big money at Georgia Power.
Today, the suburbanites who get power from that once-rural co-op are captive customers of an aggressively expanding conglomerate that is a customer-owned co-op in little more than name.
One of the biggest co-ops in the country, Cobb EMC is a monopoly and virtually unregulated, on the theory that its customers, who own it, exercise control.
At this point, I had to stop and see if I was reading an opinion column or an article. Apparently, it is not only an article, but it is the first of a two part article.
Marietta-based Cobb EMC was built and billed as an enterprise that cared more about its customers than big, for-profit utilities do.
But over the past decade, most Cobb EMC customers would have fared better with Georgia Power Co. or just about any other electric provider in the state