Families from Lincoln, Pike, St. Charles and Warren Counties attended a meeting called by local Farm Bureau agent John Matthews. The Cuivre River Electric Cooperative (CREC) was born when papers to incorporate were filed March 6, 1941.
Those original 12 incorporators were John Schaper and G.W. Bruning from Foristell, Elizabeth Goodman from Wentzville, E.M. Magruder from Foley, Mrs. John N. Overall from Winfield, Mrs. Frank Shilharvey, Jr. from Troy, Frank and Emma Lohman from Wright City, O.D. Burgess from Warrenton, Dan Crider from O'Fallon, J.K. Waters from Elsberry, and M.F. Duvall from Clarksville.
Nine were chosen to represent the members and serve as the duly elected Board of Directors. Schaper was elected president, Waters was vice president, Mrs. Overall was secretary, and Bruning was treasurer. Also serving on the original Board were Crider, Burgess, Magruder, Goodman and Mrs. Lohman.
Part of the first order of business was to hire Walter E. Longanecker as the "Project Superintendent/Coordinator" a position which essentially became general manager. He was paid $150 per month - with a $50 travel and expense account. Longanecker was previoulsy employed as assistant manager at the Ralls County Electric Cooperative in New London, Missouri.
Their actions came as a result of frustration with existing electric utilities that were reluctant to serve outside the city limits of most communities. Primarily investor owned businesses; these companies did not think rural service could ever be profitable. They rejected low interest financing offered them by Franklin D. Roosevelt's Rural Electrification Administration (REA, now the Rural Utility Service) as early as 1935.
As rural community leaders, CREC's original incorporators decided to pool their resources, form their own business, and apply for the REA loans that were offered. CREC members soon identified their electric cooperative as "the REA," when in reality CREC and the REA were never the same. In 1987 CREC paid off the last of its REA loans and obtained financing from private lenders more responsive to CREC's growing suburban needs.
The Cooperative was originally required, as a condition of REA financing, to develop a network to serve the entire four-county area. This network of electric lines travels throughout each county. CREC originally served any location where electric service was not already available. A Missouri statute limits this service to unincorporated areas and communities where the population of a town is less than 1,500. With few exceptions, CREC has no specific territory, although there are now numerous locations where CREC can no longer connect new meters, due to the 1,500 population restriction.
Territorial legislation passed by the Missouri general assembly in recent years has opened the door to negotiating specific territories for future service. These territories, if approved by the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC), can override the 1,500 population rule.
In 1993 Cuivre River Electric Cooperative and AmerenUE received PSC approval of some boundaries south of Interstate 70 in St. Charles County. In 2002 the PSC also approved some boundaries in Lincoln and Warren counties. In most cases, each electric supplier continues to serve existing customers in a specific area, but ceases the duplication of facilities.
CREC is governed by a board of 12 directors who are Cooperative members residing in the Cooperative's 12 districts. Directors are elected by Cooperative members at an annual meeting, usually held in August. Directors serve a three-year term; four directors are elected each year. Each Cuivre River member has one vote. Generally speaking, a Cooperative member is a person, family, or business which purchases electricity from the Cooperative.
Cuivre River is the largest of Missouri's 40 electric cooperatives. There are 60,000 member-consumers; 94% are homes and 6% are businesses and industries. Based on consumer records and U.S. Census data, Cuivre River serves: 24% of all St. Charles County homes; 68% of all Lincoln County homes; 65% of all Warren County homes; and 15% of all Pike County homes.
Miles of electric distribution line: 5,255 miles
Miles of electric distribution line (Above ground): 3,051 miles
Miles of electric distribution line (Below ground): 2,204 miles
Kwhs of purchased power (YTD): 1,246,605,700 kwhs
Density (consumer meters per mile): 11.10 meters
Avg. monthly residential use per consumer: 1,377 kwhs
Avg. monthly bill per residential consumer: $103.58
Service reliability: 99.96%
Number of employees: 145
Clean, low-cost coal is the primary fuel used to generate electricity for Cuivre River Electric members. Hydropower and natural gas are important secondary sources of power, especially when the seasonal demand for energy is high. Wind, a renewable resource for alternative electricity generation, is also used to generate electricity for Cuivre River Electric members who wish to purchase Green Power. Suppliers include:
Central Electric Power Cooperative, Jefferson City, MO, provides regional transmission lines and generates electricity at a coal-based plant in Chamois, Mo. For more information visit www.cepc.net.
Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc., Springfield, MO, generates electricity at coal and gas based plants in Missouri and Oklahoma. AECI also supplies Green Power to meet member requests. In addition AECI uses its 37 interchange agreements and 80 interconnection points to make power transactions with other utilities for the benefit of its cooperative members. For more information visit www.aeci.org.