• President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive Order 7035 establishing the Rural Electrification Administration.

    In the summer of 1937, seven men representing Habersham and White Counties apply for an REA grant to light up Northeast Georgia’s rural areas.

    Interested citizens meet July 25, 1938 to elect the first Board of Directors.

    By March 6, 1939 the Board of Directors has approved almost 375 members.

    The first office is located on Washington Street in Clarkesville.

  • Potential HEMC members must wait as World War II brings shortages of manpower and materials. Even one of HEMC’s original linemen waited three years to get electricity to his own home.

    During a terrible ice storm in the winter of 1946, HEMC lineman G.B. Vandergriff works three days straight – never even taking his boots off ‐ to restore electricity to members.

    HEMC linemen have neither maps nor radios at this time and must stop at homes and stores to ask for directions in order to find some members’ homes.

  • HEMC hires an agricultural engineer and home economist who travel to neighborhoods teaching members how to use appliances. A model home set up on a truck contains a water heater, water pump, stove, refrigerator, coffee maker, electric iron, washing machine and more.

    Members are able to spend more time with family and participating in community activities as electricity frees them from time‐consuming chores.

    As the cost of electricity declines, the demand rises. This demand translates to a need for more space at HEMC. In 1958, the headquarters is moved to Hwy. 115 West in Clarkesville.

  • The average member’s electricity use doubles during the ‘60s. While the demand increases, the price drops nearly seven times the price paid by the first HEMC members.

    Small appliances such as electric blankets, hair dryers, mixers and toasters were becoming commonplace in member homes. Miss Willie Vie Dowdy, the co‐op’s Home Electrification Advisor, conducted live interviews with housewives on local radio stations.

    With the purchase of HEMC’s first line truck with an auger, linemen no longer had to dig eight‐foot holes by hand.

  • The Arab Oil Embargo ushered in higher prices due to inflation, tighter environmental regulations and soaring interest prices. The wholesale price of electricity doubled between 1971 and 1974.

    Recognizing the need to control its own destiny and power supply, HEMC joined 38 other Georgia EMCs to form Oglethorpe Electric Membership in 1974. Oglethorpe’s objective is to locate and develop electricity resources for its member EMCs.

    HEMC implements a new “hot line” crew that works with hot‐line sticks. This means that some repairs can be made without disrupting members’ electric service.

    Community involvement extends to sponsorships and participation in local events. Some of these activities are a Girl Scout back‐off, FFA wiring contest and the Mountain Laurel Festival in Clarkesville.

  • The Leaf Substation is completed to meet a 65 percent growth of HEMC members in the White County area since 1968.

    Hershel Webster, a White County resident, signed a contract with Oglethorpe to annually supply 1‐1/2 million kWhs of hydro power from his 21 acre pond.

    1985 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Rural Electrification Administration.

  • The “Storm of the Century” brings 12 to 18 inches of snow and ice to HEMC’s service area. Crews work around the clock to restore power to members.

    Tornadoes rip through the area on Palm Sunday 1994 and in 1998. The 1998 storm extensively damages HEMC’s Stringer Substation in northern Hall County. Damages to the substation should have taken a week to repair but dedicated HEMC employees repaired it in only two days.

    HEMC linemen were named the best in the world at the International Lineman’s Rodeo competition in 1992 and continued to win top honors at the state and international level for many years.

  • In April 2002 HEMC began the Operation Round Up® program. Since that time members voluntarily participating in the program have had their electric bill “rounded up” to the next dollar, resulting in over one million dollars in financial assistance provided to worthwhile activities and worthy individuals within HEMC’s service area.

    Also in 2002, HEMC joined 15 other EMCs to form the state’s first clean energy program, Green Power EMC. In 2008, a photovoltaic cell was installed in the Outdoor Classroom at North Habersham Middle School as part of the SunPower for Schools initiative. In 2010, a wind turbine was added at the school.

    In the autumn of 2003 HEMC began reading meters automatically through the power lines.

    HEMC introduced the Co‐op Connections Card in 2004, providing members with direct access to hundreds of valuable discounts at local and national retailers, including pharmacies and medical services.

    Due to tremendous growth in northeast Georgia, HEMC found it necessary to expand its offices. In 2003, HEMC opened its first branch office in Cleveland. A new Engineering and Operations Center was built in 2004. Two years later, the new Headquarters was completed. A shop was added to the complex in 2010 to better serve the demands of the larger fleet.

    The How$mart™program was unveiled in January 2009. HEMC members can finance energy efficient upgrades at extremely low rates without paying any money up front.

    Having several years of experience with installing fiber optic service, HEMC partnered with Blue Ridge Mountain EMC, North Georgia State College & University and several local economic development authorities to form the North Georgia Network (NGN). In early 2010, NGN receives $42 million for a Broadband Stimulus Project to construct a regional fiber optic loop. The project provides jobs, stimulates economic development and supports smart‐grid improvements to the electrical power system. As part of the grant, HEMC is able to construct and provide members with fiber optic Internet service, Trailwave™.