Newberry Electric Cooperative is celebrating 75 years in 2015.
We enjoy having electricity in our lives today, but there was a time when the only light available was a faint glow from a kerosene lantern. A wood stove provided heat, as well as a means to cook food. And, well, the only bathroom was called an outhouse, which was located outside.
In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 7037 establishing the Rural Electrification Association (REA) and rural residents took matters into their own hands to extend lines into the rural areas, since only the cities and towns had power. IOUs or Investor Owned Utilities and municipalities would not extend the lines into the rural areas because it wasn’t cost effective, since the residents were more spread out.
Newberry Electric Co-op was organized on June 17, 1940 and with just a few employees, began serving members on January 7, 1941 when the system was energized.
Today, the co-op has 40 employees and over 1,520 miles of line, serving 13,885 members in the counties of Newberry, Fairfield, Lexington, and Laurens.
The co-op has transitioned from serving mostly agricultural to serving many industrial, manufacturing, as well as residential accounts.
A lot of things have changed over the past 75 years, but one thing hasn’t changed and that’s the commitment to our members to provide safe, reliable, affordable electricity and to make a difference in the communities that we serve.
It has been an honor to serve our members over the past 75 years and we look forward to serving for another great 75 years.