Electric Co-op

Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation to Owen Electric Cooperative Inc.

2012 Marks 75 Years of Quality Service

Owen County is very proud of the accomplishments of our very own Owen Electric Cooperative, Inc. which began its mission in providing electric service to the rural residents of Owen County in 1937.  Known then as “Owen County Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation (RECC),” its first annual meeting—held June 17, 1937—was attended by five men who, at the time, not only served as Owen Electric’s first Board of Directors, but happened to be its only members, and 52 others interested in electric service.

It was at this meeting, however, that the first bylaws were adopted and a contract with the Rural Electric Association (REA) was signed in the amount of $130,000 for the construction of 130 miles of line to serve approximately 500 applicants in Owen County.

On January 29, 1938, the first of Owen County RECC’s lines were energized during a celebration attended by Governor A.B. ‘Happy’ Chandler. By April 1938, the Board of Directors had voted to include Grant and Gallatin counties in the cooperative’s service area. By June 1938, the Board had voted to extend service into Pendleton County.

By the end of 1939, Owen County RECC members had voted to include Boone, Kenton, Campbell, Carroll and Scott counties in the service area. By 1942, Owen County RECC had 2,440 members.

The end of World War II saw men returning home having served their country and eager to have electricity light up their homes. By the end of 1949, Owen County RECC held a membership of nearly 6,500 throughout its service territory.

Having operated from rented office space for the first few years of the Coop’s existence, 1951 brought a new office to 510 Main Street in Owenton, a location that would serve as Owen County RECC/Owen Electric Cooperative’s headquarters for the next 52 years.

In the same manner that it brought electricity to its local countryside, Owen Electric continues to be a pioneer in Kentucky, being the first electric utility in the state to promote and sell green power under the label ‘EnviroWatts’ in 2001.

Since its inception, EnviroWatts has grown to become a significant portion of East Kentucky Power’s renewable energy production. Five landfill gas power plants in Kentucky now generate 15 megawatts of electricity—enough to power about 9,000 homes.

In 2003, with well over 50,000 members throughout its nine-county area, Owen Electric Cooperative moved to a new facility located approximately eight miles north of Owenton on Highway 127. The corporate headquarters and service center was combined and the building was designed with the hopes of meeting the needs of the Coop’s members for at least the next 50 years.

Today Owen Electric is Northern Kentucky’s Electric Cooperative, serving more than 57,000 members in nine counties, including Boone, Campbell, Carroll, Gallatin, Grant, Kenton, Owen, Pendleton, and Scott. OEC is one of the most technologically progressive and forward-thinking electric co-ops in the United States. OEC is involved in several federally-funded pilot programs that are conducting research into the next generation of serving members through Smart Home technology, among many other projects currently underway. Owen Electric’s involvement in the projects and its current practices and initiatives have made it a benchmark among co-ops and have many looking at what it is doing.


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