History of Electric Cooperatives
The electric cooperative history dates back to May 11, 1935 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an Executive Order making federal funds available for rural electric service and creating the Rural Electrification Administration (REA).
The early intent was to establish a loan program to provide incentive for power companies to extend service to rural areas.
At the time only about 10 percent of the country’s farms had electric service. It soon became evident that existing power companies were not going to use the federal loan program to remedy the lack of rural electrification. There were so few residents per mile of line – power companies said it was not feasible to serve rural areas. The existing companies made it clear that they expected the farmers to bear the cost of constructing electric lines and then deed it back to the power supplier. Keep in mind that this was a time when many didn’t have the money for the necessities of life, let alone money for something that could be classified as a luxury.
This was just not acceptable to the hundreds of thousands of rural Americans that needed and wanted electricity. As friends and neighbors banded together, cooperatively, they literally lit up the countryside!
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