Northeast Louisiana Power Cooperative has a rich history of public service dating back to its incorporation date of July 15, 1938. At that time, 90% of homes in rural America did not have access to electricity. Investor-owned utilities wouldn’t build to these areas because of the high cost and low return. Thanks to the Rural Electrification Act (REA) in 1935, cooperatives like NELPCO were able to take advantage of funding, training, and education to bring affordable power to the under-served. Those early pioneers of the Cooperative worked tirelessly to recruit members to the cooperative and ensure its success.
The cooperative, a unique new enterprise, soon found itself in the forefront of community affairs. The directors that the cooperative members had elected were their neighbors and friends, farmers and ranchers like themselves. Those first directors were H.B. Landis (President), J.E. Richardson, Mrs. T.A. Woolridge, Mrs. G.A. Newcomer, R.M. Ward (Secretary/Treasurer), E.C. Calloway, Ben Cheek, W.P. Martin (Vice President), and Mrs. J.M. Shamblin. These directors met monthly to set policy and give guidance to the cooperative manager.
Over the years, the Co-op has been under the management of R.E. Holladay, Jr., D.J. Anders, Jr., John C. Tucker, Gerald Baum, and Sheila Williamson. The current general manager is Jeff Churchwell.
Today, Northeast Louisiana Power Cooperative has more than 60 employees, almost 18,000 electric meters and more than 2,600 miles of electric line. Our service territory runs from south of Turkey Creek Lake in Franklin Parish north to the Arkansas line and extends into Morehouse Parish. All of it is still owned and democratically controlled by the members – about 11,000 of them.
Those members still help set policies and elect a Board of Directors to oversee the Co-op. It’s the way we chose to do business when we were founded in 1938, and it’s the way we choose to do business today. Northeast Louisiana Power Cooperative is a much bigger company now, and technology has made the way we do business much more sophisticated, but we were, we are, and we always will be your friends and neighbors.