An electric cooperative is a member-owned and controlled utility which provides electricity and associated services at cost to it's consumer-members. Electric cooperatives were established by rural pioneers all across the country in the later 1930's & early 1940's. Cooperatives like Shelby Electric Cooperative brought electricity to rural areas that the investor-owned utilities wouldn't or couldn't serve, turning on the lights for thousands of farmers and rural dwellers.
Rural electrification was made possible by the Rural Electrification Administration, created by Executive Order of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on May 11, 1935, and later by enactment of the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 on May 20, 1936. REA made low interest loans available to bring the lines into the rural areas. The REA program took off and soon became so popular and successful that electric cooperatives became known as "e;REA's". Today Shelby Electric Cooperative no longer uses money from the Rural Electrification Administration, now called the Rural Utilities Service (RUS). Our structure is still the same and the basic standards are still followed.
Fifty years later, electric cooperatives like Shelby Electric Cooperative are the primary provider of electricity in the rural areas of down state Illinois. The cooperative no longer serves just farmers in the diverse rural area - today the cooperative serves small businesses and industries, farms, residences, cabins and recreational homes. Because electricity was there, rural areas have developed.