Joe Wheeler EMC – Powering Morgan & Lawrence Counties for More Than 86 years

Joe Wheeler employees from 1937

For anything to stand, it must be built on a firm foundation. Much of Joe Wheeler EMC’s success can be credited to our humble beginnings and the dedication and determination of its founding members. Many years have passed since electricity was first brought to rural Morgan and Lawrence counties, and much has changed.

Before the formation of Joe Wheeler EMC, private power companies supplied electricity to a few towns and densely populated communities, but wouldn’t build lines to the rural areas because of the financial risk. However, the people who lived in these areas were the people who could benefit most from electricity. With the idea of forming a member-owned cooperative, community leaders, farmers, and business owners from the area came together on March 23, 1937, for an organizational meeting held in Hartselle to form what would become Joe Wheeler EMC. Little did they know what the future would hold.

Operations began on October 1, 1937, with only 190 miles of line and 900 members. Today JWEMC is the fourth largest electric co-op in Alabama, with more than 4,200 miles of line, serving more than 43,000 meters. Through our ongoing dedication to economic development, serving industries both large and small, we sell more power than any other electric cooperative in Alabama and are the eighth largest electric cooperative in the seven-state TVA region.

Looking to the future, we recognize the potential for enormous growth in North Alabama, and JWEMC is ready for the challenge. As construction of the Toyota-Mazda plant gets underway across the river, Joe Wheeler EMC is working to support the Lawrence County Industrial Board and the Morgan County Economic Development Association to recruit businesses to our area. In addition to the hope of more job opportunities, there is the potential to see new home growth as people move into the area to work. We are happy to support these efforts and eager to see our region grow. This kind of growth helps to create good jobs and allows families to enjoy a decent lifestyle. As your electric cooperative, we take pride in seeing our communities grow and prosper.

Another project Joe Wheeler EMC has recently taken on is the prospect of bringing high-speed broadband internet to the homes and businesses in our service area. In the spirit of our founding, JWEMC has recognized the need for the under-served areas of Lawrence and Morgan counties to have affordable options to be connected. Joe Wheeler EMC began studying the viability of system-wide broadband access in fall of 2017 and, pending member approval, should start to offer this service in the coming years. Once fully realized, our most rural members will have the kind of access to the world the founders of Joe Wheeler EMC could never have imagined.

After 86 years, Joe Wheeler EMC is still recognized as one of Alabama’s most efficient and progressive cooperatives. Our dedication to community service, honest and dependable employees and visionary management have set us apart as a caring member of the Morgan and Lawrence County communities for more than 86 years, and we are determined to continue and expand the great relationship we have with our membership and the surrounding communities. We are just as proud of our past as we are of our goals for the future, and know that together, with our members, Joe Wheeler EMC can make things even better for the people of North Alabama for years to come.