When attorneys sued Georgia’s electric power cooperatives on behalf of millions of current and former power customer members, they claimed the cooperatives, known as electric membership corporations, for decades had withheld as much as $2 billion in profits that should have, by law, been distributed regularly to their members.

The two class action suits were filed the same year that one of the larger cooperatives, Cobb EMC, concluded a six-year legal battle over how it had made use of those profits, known as patronage capital. It agreed to distribute to current and former power co-op members $98 million in excess profits the EMC had withheld virtually since its inception more than 70 years ago. But in late June, the plaintiffs’ lawyers threw in the towel, deciding against petitioning the Georgia Supreme Court to review a 75-page state appellate opinion handed down June 9 affirming the suits’ dismissal after court-ordered mediation failed.

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