During the 1940s, electricity had yet to arrive in much of the rural areas of our country, despite the fact that several years earlier, Franklin D. Roosevelt had persuaded Congress to create the Rural Electrification Administration (REA). The REA provided loan money to public utilities, electric cooperatives and government-owned agencies to run lines and take electricity to rural areas.
Responding to this need, South Carolina Governor Olin D. Johnston and the SC General Assembly created the State Rural Electrification Authority which built lines in selected rural areas of South Carolina and provided power to people in other parts of the state who wanted to form electric cooperatives.
On June 20, 1940, at a meeting in Batesburg, SC, eleven men incorporated Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative. Then, on October 14 of that same year, the REA granted Mid-Carolina its first loan to furnish electricity to 945 members and finance the construction of power lines.
The co-op's main objective in its early days was to provide electricity where there was none. Lack of supplies and manual labor made progress slow during the war years, but work moved ahead nevertheless.
In the early 1950's, Mid-Carolina joined with other cooperatives in the state to form Central Electric Power Cooperative (CEPC). Today, all of South Carolina's 20 cooperatives are served wholesale power by CEPC through a joint agreement with Santee-Cooper. (For a detailed history of Santee Cooper, click here.)
By 1958, MCEC was serving 4,500 members over 1,000 miles of line and, by 1980, that number had grown to 22,173 members on 2,283 miles of line.
During 2014, our membership reached nearly 45,000 on over 4,000 miles of line. Electric cooperatives now provide power to over 1.4 million members across South Carolina, constituting the largest distribution system in the state.
Today, we're leveraging the power of human connections to improve the total quality of life enjoyed by every member we serve. We're involved in economic development, education, community outreach and so much more ... all of which are our ways of keeping the power flowing.