In the 1930’s, electricity was a common luxury as long as your lived in the city. The power companies of the time were willing to provide power to cities, taking their power and provide it for rural America with little or no profit to the companies was unrealistic; rural America was left in the dark.
Many of the conveniences available to American cities at the time were unknown to rural America. Wood and coal stoves heated homes, water and food. Lighting for the family was provided by kerosene lamps and candles. Everything from milking the cattle, pumping water and washing clothing were all chores done by hand.
In the city, laborsaving devices were greatly improving the quality of life. Because there was no electric service for those living in rural areas, electricity was becoming the great divide between the city and the country.
Farmers wanted electricity, however privately owned power companies said serving rural areas would be too costly due to the houses being so far apart. They also believed that farmers would not’t use much electricity. With no profits to be made, farmers remained without electricity until the late 1930’s.
Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) was formed. The 1935 administration was formed to administer a program to encourage rural electrification by lending low-interest money to any group or company that would undertake the task. Even with the offer of low-interest financing, almost all of the private electric companies chose not to get involved.
Due to the low interest of private electric companies, farmer took it upon themselves to get their own electricity and the farmers decided to form cooperatives to do the job themselves.
The rural communities of Lorain and Medina counties were among the first to go into action. Unpaid volunteers traveled the area to determine customer interest, areas to be served and cost estimates. Following the completion of the groundwork, Lorain-Medina Rural Electric Cooperative was incorporated Jan. 3, 1936. Both counties were included in the original plans to make them more acceptable to the REA and to pay less for wholesale power.
The initial plan called for 168 miles of line to serve an estimated 600 potential customers. Even as REA was approving this modest proposal and allocating $232,700 to start construction, Lorain-Medina Rural Electric had immediate growing pains. It was obvious almost immediately that the potential customer need for rural electric service in the two county area had been underestimated. A revised project calling for 372 miles of line was rushed to REA, which promptly approved a maximum of $478,000 in construction loans.
The contract for constructing the first 372 miles of line was sent July 10, 1936, to the A.S. Schulman Co. of Chicago. Work started at once. By the end of the first year, 150 miles of line were constructed and the cooperative was serving approximately 400 families. Twenty years later the cooperative had grown to 575 miles of line, serving 4,677 customers, each using an average of 6,000 kilowatt hours per year.
Since then, the cooperative has continued to grow. Today it is one of the fastest growing cooperatives in Ohio. The cooperatives membership has become quite diverse. About 16,600 customers are served in Ashland, Huron, Lorain, Medina and Wayne counties. The Cooperative maintains about 1,500 miles of underground and overhead power lines as well as 15 substations.
In January 1998, LMRE formed a cooperative shared services and management federation with North Central Electric Cooperative of Attica, OH. Under the federation, the cooperatives share corporate management staff, accounting, billing engineering, purchasing and marketing departments. Both cooperatives maintain separate offices and separate line crews.
To provide our member-owners with highly reliable electric service, superior customer service and innovative energy solutions at competitive prices.
That the members of Lorain-Medina Rural Electric Cooperative benefit from highly reliable electric service, superior customer service and innovative energy solutions – all provided at fair and competitive prices by the efficient cooperative they own, control and trust.
We, the Board of Trustees, management and staff of North Central Electric Cooperative pledge to demonstrate the following values, beliefs, principles and standards of professional behavior as we pursue our mission and fulfill the duties of our positions.
Impeccable Integrity and Accountability
Dedication of Cooperative Principles
Commitment to our Members
Support of our Employees and their development
Contribution to our Communities
Devotion to a culture of Safety
Obligation to Environment Stewardship