“We’ve got a great story to tell,” said former NRECA CEO Glenn English. “This video is a great way to explain to members how they join with their neighbors to truly make a difference for rural Americans, just like the founders of this movement did.”
General History of the Cooperatives
In the mid-1930s, almost all rural homes were without electric service. This was a time when the farmer milked his cows by hand in the dim light, and his wife was a slave to the wood range and washboard. The utility companies in the city didn’t feel that it was necessary to provide electricity to rural areas. The Rural Electrification Administration (REA) and the rural electric cooperatives proved how mistaken those utility companies were.
The first official action of the federal government to provide electricity to all was when the Tennessee Valley Act was passed in May of 1933. This act authorized the Tennessee Valley Authority Board to construct lines to serve “farms and small villages that are not otherwise supplied with electricity at reasonable rates.”
The idea of providing federal assistance to accomplish electrification in the rural areas became very popular when President Roosevelt took office in 1933 and began his “New Deal” Programs. On May 11, 1935, Roosevelt signed the Executive Order No. 7037 establishing the REA. However, it wasn’t until a year later that the administration was passed and put into action.
Within four years, the number of electric systems in rural areas doubled, the number of consumers connected more than tripled! By 1953, more than 90% of U.S. farms had electricity. Today about 99% of the nation’s farms have electric service.
History of Macon Electric Cooperative
Following the founder of the Rural Electricfication Administration (REA) in 1935, Macon Electric Cooperative was formed in order to meet the electrification needs of rural Missourians. In May of 1938, Preston Walker of Anabel, George Holman of Bevier, Leroy Andrews of Jacksonville, H.E. Walker of Macon, Guy A. Borron of Ethel, R.T. Ball of New Bostoon, V.D. Goodding of Atlanta, Miles Pontius of Callao, Lucy I. Lawrence of Clarence, Mary D. Harding of Clarence, and W.M. Cross of College Mound completed the incorporation of Macon Electric Cooperative.
Macon Electric's first REA financed loan for $343,500 came in September of 1938, and the work to build an electric distribution system began. When the first 561-mile section was energized in January of 1940, we served 1,693 member-owners. There is now some $40,000,000 invested in the Macon Electric Cooperative system and more than 11,000 connected meters over 2,950 miles of line.
At Macon Electric Cooperative, we are dedicated to providing our member-owners with quality and reliable electric service at the lowest possible cost. We also strive to provide services to improve the quality of life throughout the communities we serve.