The Story of the Electric Cooperative
Concho Valley EC is a cooperative owned and overseen by the west central Texas consumers we serve, known as "members".
Electric cooperatives were created under the Rural Electrification Act in 1936 to bring electricity to farm and ranch communities unserved by investor-owned utilities. The law allowed rural residents to incorporate under a cooperative model and receive low-cost loans from the federal government.
Today, more than 900 electric cooperatives in 47 states provide electricity across 56 percent of the U.S.
Cooperatives around the world generally operate according to the same core principles, and they trace these roots to the first cooperative founded in Rochdale, England in 1844. This is considered the birth of modern cooperatives because of the seven principles created to guide the co-op proved successful. The principles have evolved over the years, but no matter the industry, today all cooperative businesses adhere to them.
Under the Rural Electrification Act (REA), CVEC was allocated $165,000 which allowed the cooperative to build approximately 238 miles of line, for service of at least 541 homes.
On May 24, 1940, CVEC received its Articles of Incorporation in the state of Texas. Shortly after on May 30, 1940 CVEC held the first official meeting and elected J. B. Johnson as president, and George J. Bailey as secretary-treasurer. Along with the other interim directors, CVEC hired Carroll Land as its first manager.
The Henry Mazur farm, almost three miles south of Veribest, was the first home to be energized on July 22, 1941.
Crews installed CVEC's first radio tower.
By 1950, CVEC had outgrown it's offices at 428 Upton Street and began moving into their new facility. CVEC new headquarters was located at 207 North Main Street in San Angelo.
In 1962, the Cooperative issued its first capital credit checks to its members, returning credits for 1951 margins.
By 1968, electronic data processing was being used for billing, payroll, accounts payable, construction cost analysis, depreciation, line loss evaluation, work orders, and much more using a punch card system.
In November of 1972, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) awarded CVEC safety accreditation for employees working more than five hundred thousand hours without a lost-time accident. Maintaining a high standard of job safety, the last accident had occurred more than fourteen years prior in 1957.
Manager Carroll Land retired after thirty-three years of service to CVEC and its members. Jack Webb, an employee of the co-op since 1941, transitioned to general manager.
In October of 1974, CVEC purchased ten acres east of San Angelo at 2530 Pulliam Street with plans to build a new headquarters for the growing cooperative.
By the start of 1975, the Cooperative was serving 3,898 meters and 418 security lights on 2,345 miles of line.
Construction of CVEC's new headquarters is completed and an open house is held on May 22, 1977.
After thirty-eight years of service, Jack Webb retired at the end of 1979. Alton Rollans assumed the mantle as general manager in January 1980.
CVEC marked its fortieth year of service on May 24, 1980. Capital credits for 1962 were retired when checks totaling $59,029 were mailed just before the 1980 annual meeting where the main topic was growth.
Then board President, John Johnston, announced at the 1980 annual meeting, "In terms of annual percent growth in the number of new members, your Cooperative ranks 49th out of 910 rural electrics nationwide and second out of 75 rural electrics in Texas. In percentage of growth in total utility plant, we are 24th in the nation and first in Texas."
During 1984, CVEC had 3,067 miles of line serving 7,301 meters, and forty-eight employees.
CVEC adopted a new Value Incentive Plan (VIP) program that went into effect January 1, 1986. The program's objective was to encourage members to install high-efficiency air-conditioning and heat pump units with a one-time cash payment in order to lower the Cooperative's peak demand and thereby lower their wholesale power cost.
Mia Allen and John Lehr are CVEC's first Government-in-Action Youth Tour winners.
The Orient Substation was completed in June 1989. This brought the number of substations owned by CVEC to nine, three of which had been completed in the three years prior.
The Board of Directors voted to retire $300,000 in capital credits, the largest amount ever retired by CVEC bringing its total capital credit retirement to $2,743,671.
At the start of 1995, CVEC was operated by forty-seven employees, and served approximately 4,124 members on 9,513 meters over a total of 3,548 miles of line covering 4,175 square miles in ten counties.
Weldon Gray became the executive vice president/CEO of the Cooperative on August 15, 2001, following the retirement of Alton Rollans.
CVEC joined Golden Spread Electric Cooperative, a generation and transmission cooperative, to help insure an affordable and reliable power supply for the future.
Following the tragic death of Weldon Gray on November 26, 2005, Sid Long, who had served on the CVEC Board since March 1997, resigned his seat and was appointed by the other Board members as the interim CEO until March 2008.
During the mid-2000s, CVEC's automated meter-reading system or AMR, was fully operational throughout the system and the Cooperative had installed GPS markers to provide quick response to outages and instant mapping to locate problems on the lines. With the addition of a new digital radio system, CVEC crews were able to coordinate their locations and provide means for local fire departments and other emergency groups to coordinate their response to emergencies.
After guiding CVEC for a little over two years, Sid Long decided it was time for the Cooperative to have a permanent CEO. In April of 2008 the Board of Directors promoted Kelly Lankford, who had been serving as the Co-op's manager of finance and accounting since he started in 2004, to the CEO position.
CVEC celebrated its seventy-fifth anniversary in 2015. The Cooperative had sixty-one employees, 6,266 members, more than 14,000 connected meters, and a total of 4,287 miles of line covering 4,175 square miles in ten counties including Tom Green, Coke, Concho, Sterling, Mitchell, Nolan, Runnels, Glasscock, Irion, and Reagan. At the time, CVEC had assets of more than $95 million with over 295-million kWh sales annually.
CVEC celebrated its eightieth anniversary in 2020. The Cooperative now has sixty-six employees, more than 7,592 members, over 15,398 connected meters, and a total of 4,372 miles of line.