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Refunds going out to some Sawnee EMC members
Customers from 1983-84 get payback next month
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Forsyth County News

If you were a member of Sawnee Electric Membership Corporation in 1983 or '84, about $51 is headed your way next month.

Because Cumming-based Sawnee EMC is a member-owned nonprofit electric cooperative and not a for-profit business, members benefit from its success.

The refund, which totals $1.36 million, is made up of revenue above the necessary operating cost during those two years. About 30,000 people will be affected.

Current members will receive their refund through a credit starting Aug. 1, while checks will be sent out Aug. 15 to the last known address of past members.

Last year, members from 1982 and '83 received refunds. This year's recipients, however, are getting a higher payout.

"It just has to do with the margin that you make in that year," said Blake House, a spokesman for Sawnee EMC. "You're never going to have the same amount of money."

House said Sawnee will be able to find "a vast majority of members" from a quarter century ago through postings on the company's Web site and other advertising venues, though there will be "a few that you can't find."

Sawnee EMC currently serves more than 144,000 meters through its distribution system of more than 9,439 miles of line across parts of seven counties, including Forsyth, Cherokee, Dawson, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hall and Lumpkin.

Capital retirements are reviewed annually by the Sawnee EMC board of directors. Not every year's review results in a refund.

House said the normal retirement period is 35 years, but the board elected to retire 1983 and '84.

Financial health, corporation bylaws and other governing restrictions are taken into consideration when deciding whether to issue a refund.

"We've been in business for 70 years, but we haven't sent out 70 years worth of checks," House said.

In a statement, Michael A. Goodroe, the cooperative's president and chief executive officer, said the "decision was carefully considered by our board, and at this time, given the overall financial health of the organization, we are pleased to undertake this action."