Do you or anyone in your family remember what life was like before electricity? Until 1939, much of this area had learned to survive without electricity while the cities thrived with the convenience of power. In 1939 that all changed for the rural Americans surrounding Fort Collins when Poudre Valley REA was founded by area farmers.
Farmers living in Larimer and Weld Counties started discussing the idea of getting electricity out to their farms and homes, and formal meetings soon started taking place to make the wish a reality. Potential members planned out the electrification project, and in 1939 over 600 parties were interested and paid a $5 membership fee to start Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association. The first stake was driven on the Carl Bokelman farm 2 miles south of Kelim. By September of 1940, these first few miles of line were energized.
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Fast forward 75 years and many more members later, Poudre Valley REA is still a not-for-profit owned by their member-owners with a Board of Directors elected by the membership. The REA runs with the same set of guiding principles of democratic membership and community interest and continues to give back margins to the members through capital credits.
Because the not-for-profit is owned by its members, the REA also takes interest in concern for the community. They have more in store for the members other than the electric bill you may get every week. The Cooperative is involved in many local community events, gives out scholarships to high school students, sponsors area fairs and spends resources on educating and encouraging members to use energy efficiently.
The Co-op is excited to celebrate 75 years this year, a milestone that allows all of its 90 employees to celebrate as a company that their values remain the same as they did 75 years ago when a local band of farmers gathered together and decided to electrify rural Northern Colorado.
To learn more about your membership at Poudre Valley REA, check out their website at www.pvrea.com.