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Electric co-op to energy conglomerate

Margret Newkirk of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on Georgia's Cobb EMC, one of the largest electric co-ops in the nation and described as "an aggressively expanding conglomerate." "While most co-ops reimburse that invested money to customers over time, Cobb EMC hasn't returned a nickel of it in more than 30 years: It was sitting on $240 million of ratepayer cash at the end of last year. Meanwhile, Cobb EMC has invested millions of its customers' dollars over the past decade to build a for-profit company called Cobb Energy." By operating the for-profit company as part of the co-op, it is possible to avoid regulation and transparency. In a similar situation in Alabama, members of Pioneer Electric Cooperative took a stand to end the monopoly by ousting incumbent board members.

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