Today, it seems like electric power is everywhere you look. But how did we get here? Electric cooperatives were created to bring power to the countryside, to enrich lives through the use of labor-saving devices, and to grow innovative new industries. Cooperatives provided the backbone for the necessary growth of bringing light, power, and communication to the rural areas and small towns of the United States.
Eighty-five years ago, a small group of local farmers, led by Fred Suhre, had a vision for your cooperative when they formed Bartholomew County REMC, and today we are reaping the benefits of their foresight and vision. It’s unlikely the founders anticipated the myriad of electronics running in our homes today. From televisions to computers, cell phones, and even plug-in electric vehicles, your cooperative’s founders laid the foundation for us to meet the needs of future generations.
Bartholomew County REMC was incorporated on May 19, 1937. The first pole was set on the Frank Schuder property near Taylorsville in July 1938, and the energizing of 121 members and 284 miles of line happened in early October of that year. Those trailblazing rural electric cooperative members were charged about 11 cents per kilowatt-hour for power and on average paid about $2.50 a month.
A lot has changed here at our cooperative over the past 85 years. Today, 1,235 miles of line provide service to 11,925 metered accounts. In 1939, the average member used about 40 kWh per month. The need for electricity in the home has only increased as we see the average residential member now uses 1,180 kWh per month, while the price remains about 11 cents per kWh.
BCREMC is working hard to meet the needs of our existing and future members. As we’ve listened to you and your fellow co-op member-owners, we know that we must keep pace as technology and member needs evolve.
We understand the spirit that helped create this cooperative and while times and technology will continue to change, our commitment to you will not.
We are proud of our powerful past and to have served our communities and rural areas for 85 years. As we continue to look toward the future, you can be confident that BCREMC will be here now and for generations to come.