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History of Jackson Electric Cooperative

Prior to 1935 only about 3 percent of the farms and ranches in Texas had electric service, and those, in most cases, were in suburban areas on the edge of cities and towns. The vast majority of the farming and ranching area of this state, and likewise the entire United States, was entirely without central station electric service from the Power Companies.

Following the success of the Tennessee Valley Authority, President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 created, by executive order, the Rural Electrification Administration for the purpose of extending rural electric service to other farm areas in the United States. The following year there was introduced in Congress the Norris-Rayburn Bill to establish the Rural Electrification Administration as a permanent agency of the Government.

Jackson Electric Cooperative was organized in March, 1939 for the purpose of furnishing electric service to the rural people of Jackson, Matagorda, Calhoun, Brazoria, and Lavaca Counties. On March 11, 1939 the first Board of Directors met to lay the foundation of Jackson Electric Cooperative. The incorporators, who also served as the first Directors were: Allen L. Burditt, President; E. S. Yoas, Vice-President; G. W. Harper, Secretary-Treasurer; Fred Skogberg, Mrs. A. J. Randall, Mrs. A. F. Mitchell, C. M. Srubar, Francis Koop, L. E. Frankson, A. M. Bland, and E. A. Beard.

A few people in Jackson, Matagorda, and Calhoun Counties spent many hours in tireless effort and traveled many miles signing up enough members on the first 180 miles of line in order to get a loan from the REA to construct these lines. Back in those days there were many obstacles to overcome, one being public opinion. Some said the loan from REA would never be granted, many said that ranchers and farmers didn't need and had no use for electricity, and if the lines were built, the farmers and ranchers did not know enough to operate a business of this nature and magnitude. These "city" ideas were rapidly refuted.

Jackson Electric Cooperative, unlike other types of Cooperatives who sell blocks of stock to its members in order to finance their business enterprise, had to borrow the entire amount of capital necessary to start the rural electrification project. The only capital contributed by the members of this organization is the five and ten dollar membership fee. This in itself amounted to less than one-tenth of one percent of the capital necessary for our operations.

To supplement such small working capital the Federal Government agreed to the following arrangement:

  1. Defer interest payments on loans for a period of five years.

  2. Defer principal payments for five years.

  3. At the end of five years, Jackson Electric would pay both current and deferred interest and principal in thirty years instead of thirty-five years.

Under this plan, Jackson Electric Cooperative was able to survive the first year of operations and has since operated in "the black".

Ownership of Jackson Electric Cooperative was and is vested in its members. Each member shares equal rights and responsibilities under its charter and by-laws. One of the more important duties of the membership is to elect a competent Board of Directors who, with the assistance of the General Manager, formulates policy to be put into effect by the General Manager.