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Utility automatically opts-in customers for charity donations

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A Northwest Georgia electric cooperative has made a change to keep more of its customers' change for charity -- and not everyone's happy about it.

The North Georgia Electric Membership Corp. decided to "opt in" all of its 98,000 customers to Operation Round Up, a program that rounds bills up to the next highest dollar amount.

For example, a monthly bill of $70.01 is rounded up to $71, with 99 cents going to the program that makes donations to community nonprofit organizations in the seven counties the cooperative serves.

Participation in Operation Round Up has soared from a little less than 3 percent when customers had to choose to take part to 76 percent now that it's automatic, electric cooperative spokeswoman Laura Sparks said. The pennies add up: The electric cooperative expects revenue will grow 25-fold to $30,000 monthly up from the previous $1,200 a month, after all the customers who are going to opt out do so.

Read more from our news partner the Times Free Press.
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