Though the Hoosier Energy of today doesn’t closely resemble its early self, our mission has remained the same: providing affordable, reliable power to rural and underserved regions of Indiana and Illinois. Throughout Hoosier Energy’s history, our footprint has expanded to reach hundreds of thousands of homes, farms and businesses. Today, we serve 18 member electric cooperatives, delivering power through a 1,700-mile transmission network.
With roots dating to the 1940s, Hoosier Energy has been powering regions of Indiana and Illinois for over 70 years
Securing Electricity for Rural Hoosiers
In the 1930s, many Indiana farms were still without electricity, due largely to private utility companies of the era being unwilling to make the necessary investments to run electrical lines through sparsely populated parts of the state. Although cities and towns around the Midwest were electrified, many rural farmers were still using gas generators to pump water and perform limited tasks on the farm.
In 1935, the newly formed Rural Electrification Administration (REA) helped to change that. The federal agency, established by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, sought to bring low-cost electricity to America’s farmers. Within a few years, electric power came to Indiana farms and the rest of the nation.
Shortly after the creation of the REA, several groups of farmers banded together to erect transmission and distribution lines, financing the construction through low-interest federal loans. These groups allowed farmers to work collectively to ensure one another’s success. In the years that followed, rural electric membership corporations (REMCs) were formed across the country.
While the REA helped electrify tens of thousands of farms across the nation, the investor-owned utilities that produced the electricity held all the power. By the late 1940s, power costs were increasing while reliability was decreasing, and many were looking for an alternative.
Banding Together to Provide Reliable Electricity
The earliest days of Hoosier Energy date to spring 1949, when a group of farmers gathered at a café in Rushville, Indiana, to devise a strategy to bring reliable and affordable electricity to wide swaths of farmland across the state.
Shortly after their meeting, the group incorporated in what would become Hoosier Energy. Their goal was simple: secure more affordable wholesale power rates compared to what they were paying to the investor-owned utilities.
Those farmers made up the board of directors and passed a resolution to seek a $6.5 million loan from the Rural Electrification Administration to build a generation and transmission system. The board recognized that in order to secure fair rates for reliable power, they would have to do it themselves.
Hoosier Energy Today
Through the decades, Hoosier Energy has matured and grown into an efficient generation and transmission cooperative that now serves more than 760,000 consumers through 18 member electric cooperatives across a 15,000-square-mile area in Indiana and Illinois. We draw power from a diverse range of resources and have made significant strides over the last decade to increase renewable energy production and distribution. Our commitment to renewable energy has been bolstered by a voluntary board policy to increase the renewable portion of our production to at least 10% by 2025.
Today we operate with the same vision and clarity that have served our cooperative since 1949. The principles that guided our leaders more than 70 years ago remain the same, and we’re committed to delivering value for our members in the decades to come.
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