History of Rural Electric Cooperatives

History of Rural Electric Cooperatives

Photo from NRECA, image shows sign that reads working together did it all the power you want at lowest cost! A dream come true, at a celebration ceremony

Photo courtesy of NRECA


In May of 1941, the first of a series of meetings for forming an electric cooperative were held in Delhi, New York. A corporation was formed on July 15, 1941, known as the Delaware County Electric Association, Inc.

On April 29, 1942, New York Governor Herbert H. Lehman signed the “Rural Electric Cooperative Law” permitting farmers to serve electricity to themselves through cooperatives. On May 12, 1942, Delaware County Electric Association, Inc., was converted to a cooperative in accordance with the new “Rural Electric Cooperative Law” and became Delaware County Electric Cooperative, Inc. On May 25, 1942 the first set of bylaws were approved and the first officers were elected.

The outbreak of World War II delayed the progress of the Cooperative initiative, as supplies needed for building power lines were unavailable. The cooperative office was closed until August of 1943. On June 29, 1944 at 2:00 PM the first 8.2 miles of line serving 12 farms were energized on Platner Brook in Delhi, NY.

In 1960 the Cooperative signed a contract with the New York Power Authority (NYPA) for the purchase of renewable hydro electrical power. Previously the Cooperative purchased electrical power from New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG). NYPA has remained the supplier of the Cooperative’s power since that time.

The current Cooperative office, located at 39 Elm Street in Delhi, NY was purchased from the Elizabeth Farrington Estate. There is a rich history that came along with this house; the presence of the Cooperative and the service that we have provided to our members over the past 75 years continues to build this history.

Today, the Cooperative has grown to serve over 5,300 members/consumers covering over 800 miles of line. The Cooperative service territory encompasses the rural areas of 21 towns in Delaware, Schoharie, Otsego and Chenango Counties.

The history of the Rural Electric Cooperatives is one of the greatest American success stories. Rural America decided to create a business owned by members with sole purpose of providing member-owners in the rural sector with low cost electric service which otherwise was not available. We are proud of and grateful for the strong and visionary individuals who worked to form this cooperative and contributed to the development of Delaware County and its rich history.

To this day, Delaware County Electric Cooperative takes pride providing our members quality electric service and being good stewards to our local communities. Our Board and dedicated and skilled employees are proud to serve our rural members-owners with low-cost, safe and reliable electric service.