Electric Co-ops in South Carolina
Electric Cooperatives Timeline
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Fairfield Electric Cooperative on January 20, 1940 became the third cooperative to serve members.
During 1940, 11 cooperatives were born. Nine were formed in the first six months. On January 5, 1940, Berkeley Electric Cooperative was incorporated, and a month later, on February 5, 1940, Black River Electric received its charter. On February 13, 1940, Coastal Electric Cooperative was incorporated. Then, on March 6, 1940, Pee Dee Electric Cooperative energized its first line, followed by Lynches River Electric Cooperative, which began providing service on March 15, 1940.
On April 25, 1940, Horry Electric Cooperative was incorporated, as was Broad River Electric Cooperative on June 10, 1940. Later that week, on June 14, 1940, Tri-County Electric Cooperative received its charter. Then, Newberry Electric Cooperative was incorporated on June 17, 1940.
Little River Electric Cooperative received its charter June 19, 1940, the same day that Edisto Electric Cooperative energized its first line. The next day, on June 20, 1940, Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative was incorporated—the same day that Santee Electric Cooperative began providing service.
Palmetto Electric Cooperative received its charter on August 8, 1940, shortly before Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative was incorporated on August 14, 1940.
Marlboro Electric Cooperative energized its first line on September 3, 1940. Black River Electric Cooperative followed suit on December 20, 1940.
Seven electric cooperatives all began service on the same day in 1941. Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative, Coastal Electric Cooperative, Horry electric Cooperative Little River Electric Cooperative, Newberry Electric Cooperative, Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative and Tri-County Electric Cooperative all began serving members on January 7, 1941.
On March 12, 1941, York Electric Cooperative was incorporated.
Palmetto Electric Cooperative energized its first line October 1, 1941, as did Broad River Electric Cooperative on October 7, 1941, and York Electric Cooperative, on October 10, 1941.
Two electric cooperatives, Salkehatchie and Marion, incorporated and energized lines during the same period but later merged with other cooperatives.
By 1941, electric cooperatives were beginning to defend themselves against strong attacks. Investor-owned utilities sought to persuade the public to believe that electric cooperatives were out of step with American free enterprise. Ironically, many people later would consider cooperatives as shining examples of the free enterprise system.
The electric cooperatives in South Carolina faced the same challenges as their more than 900 counterparts in other states. These challenges, as well as wartime labor and material shortages, galvanized electric cooperative leaders to unify and organize state associations.
The same unity exists in The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, Inc., the electric cooperatives' state association, formed July 8, 1941. The association provides a variety of services in addition to Living in South Carolina Magazine, the voice of South Carolina's electric cooperative members.
On February 17, 1942, Santee Cooper generated power for the first time.
Electric cooperatives in coastal and central portions of the state formed a generation-and-transmission cooperative to pool their buying power and purchase and transmit wholesale power. Central Electric Power Cooperative was born in 1948.
Central received its first federal loan for approximately $7.5 million in 1949 to build transmission lines connecting cooperatives to Santee Cooper sources of generation.