your power needs
The few remaining
pioneers of the rural electric program remember the days when Missouri’s
electric cooperatives had to rely on other utilities for their power
supply. In those early days electric cooperatives usually tapped into
nearby municipal power plants that had extra capacity.
worked well for the first few years. But following World War II,
electric co-ops began to add members in waves. As appliances appeared
on the market the demand for electricity quickly outpaced the cities’ ability
to provide it.
Since city residents
came first, co-op consumers often found themselves in the dark when
demand for power surpassed supply. Left with no choice, city power
plant managers had to provide for their consumers first and simply
pulled the plug on the connection serving the cooperative.
early days members didn’t mind being without power for a few
hours. They still weren’t used to the luxury of having electricity
on the farm. It wasn’t unusual for members to notify the co-op
of an outage via post card.
Wisely, those electric
co-op leaders in the 1950s and ’60s laid the groundwork
for a network of power plants that would let electric cooperatives control
their own destiny and ensure they always had reliable power sources.
as members grouped together to form electric cooperatives, the cooperatives
themselves formed cooperatives to generate electricity. These generation
and transmission cooperatives, or G&Ts, would build their own
power plants. The power supply situation seemed set.
As time went
by however electric cooperative members continued to demand more
and more electricity. Electric heat, new appliances and continued
growth outpaced the output of these early plants.
No one wanted
to go back to the uncertainty of the early days when electric co-ops
were dependant on others for their power supply needs. So the G&Ts
took power supply to a new level by forming Associated Electric Cooperative,
Inc. (AECI) in 1961. This third tier to the cooperative family in
Missouri created a “super
G&T” to generate electricity. The other G&Ts became
Ts, dedicated to moving the high-voltage power from the power plants
to the local co-op.
The three-tier system
has served Missouri well. Today many other states wish they had the
same three-tier system. AECI today is one of the strongest generation
utilities in the nation. Through AECI, Missouri electric cooperative
members enjoy some of the lowest, most stable rates in the nation.
who remember those “dark days” before AECI and our six
are looking at the future and now see the need for a new power
plant. That situation was most telling this summer when demand for
electricity increased, despite cooler-than-normal summer weather.
the past few years electric cooperative directors and managers
have been involved in an in-depth analysis of how to best meet your
power needs. Soon we expect AECI to make an announcement concerning
the location of a new coal-fired, base- load power plant that will
meet the needs of a growing membership well into the future and make
sure the existing cooperative membership has a reliable supply.
electricity cannot be stored, we must continue to keep pace with
the demand for more electricity brought on by a growing membership
and a desire for more electric devices.
Rest assured your
electric cooperative will meet your needs for affordable and reliable
electricity well into the future so that we won’t suffer from
the shortages experienced by California, the Northeast
and other regions of the country.
Hart is executive vice president of the Association of Missouri