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East Mississippi Electric Power Association

Randy Carroll, COO, EMEPA; Kevin Hedgpeth, Director of Accounting and Finance, EMEPA; Doran Dennis Relationship Manager, CoBank; Wayne Henson, CEO, EMEPA

For more than 75 years, East Mississippi Electric Power Association has been providing reliable, affordable electricity to people and businesses inside its service territory, which covers portions of six counties near the Mississippi-Alabama border.

But the cooperative believes its mission is broader than just delivering power. EMEPA also serves the area by investing in local rural economic development projects, and through financial support for a variety of local community programs. In recent years, EMEPA has sponsored a local critical care hospital, a satellite college campus, area volunteer fire departments and leadership training programs for local youth.

“Our corporate motto is ‘We Care,’ and we try to live up to those words every day,” said EMEPA General Manager Wayne Henson. “We play a vital role in the economic health of the communities we serve, and we take our civic obligations seriously.”

In 2014, EMEPA worked with CoBank to secure a new $55 million credit facility. Proceeds from the transaction enabled it to refinance an existing loan from the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service, shortening the co-op’s debt term and lowering interest payments. “CoBank offered us a lower rate and enabled us to trim years off our amortization schedule,” said Kevin Hedgpeth, EMEPA’s director of accounting and finance.

The transaction also provided funds for working capital and— importantly—a letter of credit for continued investment in local economic development projects. “It’s great to have a financial partner like CoBank who understands our business objectives and works with us to get the job done,” Henson said.

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