From Rural Electrification to Future Technologies
Posted on June 23rd, 2020
Before electricity, farming consisted of men and women, boys and girls working by hand. Hauling water, milking cows, pitching hay, picking corn, and cranking the cream separator were all done manually.
Meals were cooked on a stove that burned wood or corncobs. Families heated water on the stove to take baths and wash clothes. Before electric irons, clothes were pressed with a wedge of iron heated on the stove. The family’s bathroom was outdoors and consisted of an unheated shack over a deep pit. (Deluxe models were outfitted with two holes.)
That all changed soon after President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an Executive Order May 11, 1935, making federal funds available for rural electric service and creating the Rural Electrification Administration which laid the foundation for member-owned electric cooperatives.
Now, across the U.S., there are more than 900 electric cooperatives that provide power to over 42 million people in 47 states, mostly in rural America. Remarkably, cooperatives power 56 percent of the nation’s landmass. In Arkansas its approximately 60 percent of the landmass in 74 counties and 40 percent of electric consumers.
One of the hallmarks of our business model is democratic control – one member, one vote. All of us exercise that opportunity through our annual meeting and director election process. This year Karissa Rushing, from our Benton district and Larry Wood, from our Jacksonville district were re-elected to serve a six-year term. We are all fortunate to have a knowledgeable and dedicated board that cares about every member. Our board works diligently to keep rates affordable and provide reliable service, in keeping with our mission of “Improving Quality of Life.”
First Electric plays a vital role in transforming the utility industry. Embracing emerging technology and renewable energy enables your co-op to improve the efficiency of our system while reducing environmental impacts.
It’s an honor to be serving as your board Chairman and I congratulate Ms. Rushing and Mr. Wood – your directors re-elected to their positions to serve you – our members.