Baldwin EMC CEO Karen Moore
Recently, while sorting through some old files, our engineering department came across a Baldwin EMC membership application dated May 16, 1941. Here are a couple of the provisions listed:
1. “The Applicant will pay to the Cooperative the sum of $5.00, which if this application is accepted by the Cooperative, will constitute the Applicant’s membership fee.”
2. “The Applicant will, when electric energy becomes available, purchase from the Cooperative all electric energy used on the premises….The Applicant will pay a bill of at least $1.95 per month…”
It’s safe to say a lot has changed since 1941. Back then, the average income per year was $1,750, the cost of a new house was $4,075, and you could buy a brand new car for $850. Naturally, the prices of everything have changed.
Also, there is no longer a question of “when electric energy becomes available.” Today, getting as soon as crews can put up the poles and lines needed to deliver electricity, it can start flowing to a new location.
There are some things about that agreement between Baldwin EMC and one of our members that haven’t changed. For starters, our membership fee is still just $5. And Baldwin EMC still gives you a lot for your $1.95.
For example, for that same $1.95, you can use your blender 866 times. You can power your laptop continuously for 11½ days. You can wash 33 loads of laundry. You can also make 23 pots of coffee, which you might need if you’re going to get through folding all those clean clothes.
When Baldwin EMC’s founders established a cooperative 79 years ago, their goal wasn’t to get rich. It wasn’t about profit, because in rural Alabama, there was little to no profit to be gained in powering the area’s abundant farms. It was about giving people access to something that would drastically improve the quality of their lives – electricity.
That legacy was just beginning in 1941 when the membership application pictured here was signed. We’ve carried it forward to this day. This allows us to keep our rates affordable and ensure that energy remains a great value.