In the early days, private power companies provided urban areas with electricity, but rural residents were left in the dark. The private power companies did not consider it profitable to provide electricity to rural areas. For rural residents, the cost of getting central station electrical service - even if they could obtain it - was prohibitive. Working together, local farmers and others created an electric cooperative to supply themselves with power at a cost that they could afford.
It was slow going at first. The war effort created shortages of both materials and labor. We needed approval from the “War Production Board” to construct the lines. Even meters were unavailable. Many lines were built and farms energized in the late 1930's but it was not until July 19, 1941 that the first meeting was held to start proceedings for the present Cooperative. At that time the Cooperative was called the Oneida County Electric Association, on May 5, 1942 the Cooperative became Oneida-Madison Electric Cooperative, Inc. A monthly board meeting is held the fourth Tuesday of each month. As of May 2007, the Cooperative has 259.62 miles of line and 1,972 services in place.
Nationwide, there are nearly 1,000 electric cooperatives operating today. Each one is a locally-owned business enterprise, incorporated under the laws of the state in which it operates. Consumers who receive service are members and share the responsibility for making it a success.
Oneida-Madison Electric Cooperative is unique from other power companies because (1) each member has an opportunity to attend the Annual Meeting and cast a vote in the election of the Board of Directors and any other business that may come before the membership; (2) each member receives ownership equity in the system in the form of capital credits, which are cash repayments to members on a rotating cycle.
Oneida-Madison Electric Cooperative, Inc. conducts its business much the same as any other electric utility. However, the difference lies in the ownership and how the wishes of the owners are carried out. As owners, our customers really count.