CWEMC Turns Seventy-Five

January 2011| Alabama Living

 

Happy New Year to you and your family as we move into another year – 2011.   Can you believe it?  As I write this well in advance of January 1, it seems 2010 has flown by.  I actually love black-eyed peas and just about anything green so you see I’m pretty much focused on the New Year’s meal, already!

2011 will be a special year for CWEMC.  The cooperative will celebrate 75 years and that is quite a milestone of service for southwest Alabama.  CWEMC was actually formed on March 2, 1936 but we plan to celebrate this accomplishment for most of the year.  One reason deserving of such focus on our history is that CWEMC was the first electric cooperative formed in Alabama.  We were the first of the present twenty-two cooperatives formed out of desperation to bring electricity to Alabama’s rural areas.  That speaks highly of the foresight and ability of people in our part of the state to make a significant advancement in improving their way of life and to setting the standard.

In 1936, electricity was available in cities and towns around our area.  Actually, electricity had existed for many years in towns, but the rural areas which we serve today were without electricity.  Folks saw what electricity meant to their friends and families living in the neighboring towns.  They realized what a great improvement just an electric light bulb could mean in their homes and everyday lives.  The Rural Electric Administration (REA) had just been formed in 1935 to finance rural electric systems and that opened the door for electricity finally to the rural landscape.  Cooperatives had to be formed because investor owned utilities did not believe a profit could be made from the sparsely populated country-side.

As 2011 progresses, we will talk much more about our electrification adventure and provide you more interesting information.  Maybe you have a personal experience regarding the early days of electricity.  If you do, I wish you would write it down and send it to us or call and tell us the story.  We would be interested in hearing it.  Hopefully we will be able to print some of the stories and perhaps interviews concerning the rich history of CWEMC.

In other news, we sent out $350,000 in patronage capital checks in December.  This was returned to those receiving electric service in 1983.  This brings the total patronage capital returned to over $2.5 million.  Thank you for your support over the years.

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