Together, we operate the largest electric distribution system in the state. More than 1.5 million South Carolinians in all 46 counties use electricity from electric cooperatives. 

Electric Co-ops in South Carolina

Electric Cooperatives Timeline

Page 3 of 4

1950 to 1959

The Southeastern Power Administration was created in 1950. Headquartered in Elberton, Georgia, Southeastern markets power generated at reservoirs to electric cooperatives and other utilities in South Carolina and other states.

In 1950, electric cooperatives decided to keep critical infrastructure resources in South Carolina by officially partnering with Santee Cooper. Santee Cooper sold power at one-third of the cost of the power sold by investor-owned utilities.

Santee Cooper power was first delivered over the transmission lines built by Central in 1952.

The Southeastern Power Administration in 1953 began marketing hydropower from Thurmond (formerly Clark’s Hill) Dam, first of three hydropower projects on the Savannah River.

Central had built 1,000 miles of transmission lines by the end of 1954. Today, the network--mostly cooperative built--consists of more than 4,400 miles of transmission lines.

In 1957, electric cooperatives established the Washington Youth Tour, bringing thousands of high school youths to the nation’s capital each year to learn about the democratic form of government and its importance to cooperatives.

Saluda River Electric Cooperative, a generation-and-transmission cooperative, was formed in November 1958 by five distribution cooperatives in the Upstate to represent them in wholesale power dealings.

1960 to 1969
By 1961, electric cooperative leaders recognized that they should identify their co-ops as co-ops and not as the REA. Building signs bearing a streak of lightning and the letters REA were taken down.

In 1965, the Dolphus M. Grainger Steam Generating Electric Plant, financed and constructed by Central, went on line in Conway under the operation of Santee Cooper.

Marion Electric Cooperative merged into Pee Dee Electric Cooperative on December 8, 1965.

1970 to 1979
In what amounted to a repeal of the Rural Electrification Act, President Nixon on January 3, 1973 ordered a halt on 2 percent direct loans to electric cooperatives. The loan program was re-established in March 1973.

The Arab oil embargo of June 1973 marked the beginning of the nation’s first energy crisis and the end of cheap energy in the United States.

On August 1, 1973, Salkahatchie Electric Cooperative merged into Edisto Electric Cooperative.

Cooperative Electric Energy Utility Supply (CEE-US) was founded in 1975 to provide service to cooperatives through bulk purchase of materials and equipment.

Calendar of Events

  1. Oct
    04

    The co-op's annual meeting takes place at the office on 2269 Jeffries Highway in Walterboro.

    Registration is from 8 a.m. - 10 a.m.

    Business meeting starts at 10 a.m.

    Walterboro

Washington Invasion Find out what happens when dozens of S.C. high school students take over Washington, D.C.