Founded on April 22, 1937, Baldwin EMC was incorporated by Frank Earle of Blacksher, P.A. Bryant of Stockton, Alton Hankins of Robertsdale, Frank Hoffman of Elberta, and Tom Steele Jr. of Bon Secour, who also served as the corporation’s first directors.
When the corporation converted to a cooperative in 1939, it was divided into districts, for which the first trustees were Frank Earle, District 1, president; Alton Hankins, District 2; Ed Kane, District 3, secretary; Frank Hoffman, District 4; and Tom Steele Jr., District 5.
A branch office was opened in Gulf Shores in 1968, and Baldwin EMC moved into a new complex in Summerdale in 1972, which still serves as its headquarters. A branch office opened in Bay Minette in 1974, and the Monroe County warehouse/field office opened in 1995.
After Hurricane Frederic destroyed many of the existing structures along the beaches of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach in September 1979, the resulting building boom was significant in development of the area. The coastal area’s development has sparked tremendous economic growth, primarily in tourism.
Baldwin EMC, which is the sole electrical provider for the coastal area of the county, has been a leader in technological advances. It was the first utility in the county to implement 24-hour manned dispatch services, tremendously improving response time and improving members satisfaction. The System Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system installed in 1989 gives Baldwin EMC state-of-the-art control over its electrical distribution system and minimizes outage time. A fully staffed control center was established in 1995 with four full-time dispatchers, trained to operate SCADA and the Outage Management System.
In 1998, Baldwin EMC joined Touchstone Energy, a national alliance of local, member-owned electric cooperatives that do business with integrity, accountability, innovation and commitment to community. Touchstone Energy provides the resources of a nationwide network to bring added value and benefit to Baldwin EMC’s members, while emphasizing the importance of our local presence and unique ties to our community.
Establishment of the Baldwin Electric Membership Charitable Foundation in 2004 allows the cooperative to round up participating members’ bills to the next dollar. The extra cents from each bill are collected and placed in the Foundation for redistribution to meet needs in the Baldwin County area. These funds are granted for food, clothing, health care, shelter, education, and the environment. Since distribution began in 2004, more than $480,000 has been granted to local organizations and individuals.
Baldwin EMC distributes power in a service area that covers most of Baldwin County and a section of southern Monroe County. It serves two of the 12 municipalities and most of the unincorporated areas of Baldwin County.
The availability of reliable electricity is critical to economic development, so the presence of Baldwin EMC has been vital to development of this county. The strongest evidence is to be seen along the Alabama gulf coast, which is now a high-profile resort area. Without reliable electric service, none of this development would be possible.
Deeply involved in community and charitable activities, Baldwin EMC is a member of all five chambers of commerce in Baldwin County, the Business Council of Alabama, and the Alabama Home Builders Association.
Employees are members of many organizations, including Rotary and Kiwanis clubs, and serve on the boards of the Home Builders Association, chambers of commerce, Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance, Public Transportation Coalition, and USS Alabama Battleship Commission.
In addition, Baldwin EMC sponsors numerous local charities and events, and its employees are involved in many community organizations, from volunteer fire departments to PTA groups, youth and adult ball teams, and religious groups.