Our History

It Started in Georgia

Electricity is something we take for granted.  But 100 years ago, it was a luxury, not a guaranteed utility.  Families in Atlanta and other Georgia cities added electricity to their homes as early as 1910.  But it was too expensive for major utility companies to bring electricity to rural areas — which in the 1920s and 1930s included now-suburban counties such as Cobb and Gwinnett — and they were left in the dark until President Franklin D. Roosevelt took action.

FDR in Barnesville, Ga. (Southern Rivers Energy)
Throwing the switch at Sawnee EMC

FDR spent a lot of time in Warm Springs, Ga., to treat his polio.  After noticing many towns around him still without power — and paying a more expensive electric bill there than for his Hyde Park, N.Y., mansion — he was inspired to create the Rural Electrification Administration in 1935.  The Rural Electrification Act lit up most of Georgia, with 41 electric membership cooperatives created between 1935 and 1941.

Our Beginnings

For the first few decades, each EMC didn’t have generation and transmission facilities and thus had to purchase power at wholesale rates — an expensive transaction.

During the oil crisis of the 1970s, 39 of Georgia’s EMCs created Oglethorpe Power Corporation to own and operate power plants and transmission infrastructure on their behalf.

Our Evolution

Oglethorpe Power restructured into three standalone companies in 1997, with each company focused on a different aspect of the business:

  • Oglethorpe Power Corporation: generation operation and asset management
  • Georgia Transmission Corporation: transmission construction and maintenance
  • Georgia System Operations Corporation: power system operations

Georgia System Operations Today

Managing and monitoring the system is just the beginning of what we do.

In partnership with Georgia Transmission, we operate a statewide telecommunication and fiber network that delivers secure network communications and real-time monitoring services while making use of excess fiber capacity to support rural broadband opportunities across Georgia.

Georgia System Operations created the subsidiary Georgia Network Operations Company in 2017 to exchange excess network capacity with other telecommunications carriers to expand network resources in support of electric operations and interconnecting Georgia’s EMCs and to support our EMCs’ efforts to enable rural broadband in underserved areas.