Helping Hand for Hart

Walton EMC crews helped out their cohorts at Hart EMC after severe weather.

MONROE, Ga. — Although it’s certainly not business as usual, Walton Electric Membership Corp.’s electric service has remained reliable as usual during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“There have been no issues with electricity delivery due to the current pandemic,” Chief Operating Officer Ron Marshall said. “Our employees have even been able to help other EMCs restore power that were hard hit by spring storms.”

Walton EMC sent crews to both Snapping Shoals EMC in Covington and Hart EMC in Hartwell over the past few weeks when their systems sustained major damage from high winds and trees. The damage was especially heavy at Hart EMC when almost 45% of their customer-owners were without power at the height of last week’s severe weather outbreak.

Regular work, like responding to outages, streetlight repairs and service installations have continued, with crews practicing social distancing while performing these tasks.

“Our employees have adapted well to changes in the workplace,” Marshall said. “They took the measures we implemented to protect their health seriously and understand that our customer-owners depend on them to keep their essential electric power flowing.”

The co-op had implemented all of Gov. Brian Kemp’s requirements for critical infrastructure businesses even before his executive order was issued. Plans are to keep many of the practices in place for the foreseeable future.

“We will return to normal business operations as soon as possible, but not before it’s safe for our customer-owners and employees,” Marshall said.

The cooperative also took measures to help customer-owners who are financially affected by the crisis. Among those are:

  • Suspending disconnections.
  • Expanding payment arrangements.
  • Providing extended communication regarding billing and payment resources.

Caring for the community

Walton EMC’s Operation Round Up also distributed $131,770 throughout the community in its March grants. “During times like these, the generosity of Operation Round Up is more important than ever,” CEO Ronnie Lee said.

These agencies that provide emergency food, shelter and medical needs received funds from unclaimed capital credits:

  • ACTION – $10,000 for the Full Plate Rescue program.
  • Atlanta Community Food Bank – $10,000 for food purchase and distribution.
  • Faith In Serving Humanity – $15,000 for their children’s feeding program.
  • Partnership Against Domestic Violence – $7,500 for their children’s shelter.
  • Salvation Army, Athens – $15,000 for their emergency feeding and shelter program.
  • Salvation Army, Gwinnett – $15,000 for their emergency feeding and shelter program.
  • Step by Step Recovery – $15,000 for their homeless shelter.

These agencies received funds from rounding up customer-owners’ bills to the next dollar:

  • Georgia Options Inc. – $5,000 for communication devices and software for developmentally disabled.
  • Loganville Police – $4,000 for their Drug Abuse Resistance Education program.
  • Skye Precious Kids – $5,000 to support families with children facing life-threatening illnesses.
  • United Home Scholars – $1,500 for a soccer program for home and private school students.
  • United Way of Northeast Georgia – $4,550 for their Dolly Parton Imagination Library that provides books for children from birth to age 5.
  • Six families – $24,220 for emergency needs.

For more information, pandemic FAQs and other relevant information, visit waltonemc.com. To keep up with the latest news and events, follow Walton EMC at facebook.com/waltonemc and twitter.com/waltonemc.