Lighting the Texas Plains since 1944
An early survey showed that if every farm or ranch in a five county area was served, there would be approximately one meter per mile of line. This meant that each meter must provide as much revenue as three meters in other sections of the country. Because of the large acreage in the farms and ranches and the type of farming and ranching carried on, early leaders convinced the Rural Electrification Administration in Washington D. C. that loans to this cooperative would be feasible. However, it would be necessary for all farmers and ranchers in this area to become members and take service from the cooperative.
The first service area included Hansford, Hemphill, Hutchinson, Lipscomb, and Ochiltree counties and the following men were elected trustees to promote and try to charter the North Plains Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Hansford County-W. E. Davis and R. D. Tomlinson
Hemphill County-Faye Savage
Hutchinson County-Ira Harbour
Lipscomb County-J. E. Shahan and R. B. Tyson
Ochiltree County-W. M. Deck, W. M. Good, and J. H. Kershaw
North Plains Electric Cooperative, Inc. was organized on January 9, 1944 and a charter was granted in March of that same year. On May 10, 1944, the Trustees met and were told by the cooperative attorney that a charter had been granted and that the cooperative was now in a position to request a loan from the Rural Electrification Administration. Mr. Deck, President of the Board of Trustees at the time, was authorized to wire the Rural Electrification Administration in Washington for a loan application to finance 200 miles of distribution line.
During a meeting on June 20, 1944, a loan contract was signed with the Rural Electrification Administration for the sum of $158,000 to construct the first 200 miles of line. The first construction contract was let on December 22, 1944. Another contract was executed with the City of Canadian, Texas for the purchase of electrical power from the City Municipal Power Plant.
Because of the scarcity of material and labor during the war, construction did not begin until April 1945. And for the same reason, the first 218 miles was not completed until April 29, 1946. So, within 28 months of the time of the first meeting, electrical service was made available to 176 farms in the five county area.
W. M. Good (above), first president of the board, threw the switch to energize the first 80 miles of line on February 5, 1946. Power was purchased from the City of Canadian, Texas. A very small 300 KVA substation located in Canadian served the first few miles of line for the cooperative members. The first home furnished with cooperative power was that of George Robbins located in the southwest part of Lipscomb County.