In 1934, in the back of a furniture store in Alcorn County, Mississippi, the first electric co-operative in the country was born. At that time, nine out of ten farmers and rural Americans lacked electricity in their homes. By executive order, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, as part of the New Deal, created the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), which has since been reorganized as the Rural Utilities Services (RUS).
Electric co-operatives and the REA illuminated the homes of rural Mississippi and rural America, but who knew the co-operative model would brighten the spirit of community? Not only were the residents being provided with low-cost electricity, they were also part owners of the co-operative. As time progressed and rural areas became electricity-dependent, many electric cooperatives began to behave more like impersonal, corporate machines and less like the community empowerment vehicles they were designed to be.
Mississippi has 25 distribution co-operatives and one Generation & Transmission co-operative.