In the 1930's, electricity was commonplace in cities but largely unavailable in rural areas. At that time the provision of power to rural areas was not thought to be economically feasible.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt fortunately understood the importance of bringing electricity to the rural areas and on May 11, 1935, established the Rural Electrification Administration to take on the issue of funding for rural electrification projects.
On June 14, 1935 a small group of farmers with a dream of electrifying the countryside met in the office of the Marshall County Farm Bureau at 118 West LaPorte Street in Plymouth, Indiana for the purpose of
discussing the possibility of setting up an organization to take advantage of the Rural Electric Membership Corporation Act (Bill #454), which had been approved on March 9, 1935 by the Indiana legislature.
It was with the passage of this R.E.M.C. Bill that began the process of bringing power to rural farms, homes and businesses of thousands of Hoosiers. Sponsored by the Farm Bureau, the Bill was the first of its kind in the nation. Included in the Bill was a provision protecting the R.E.M.C. territory from "skimming practices" of other power companies. Other states did not include such a provision and that proved to be a costly oversight. Governor Paul V. McNutt signed the bill into law on March 9, 1935. Interestedly, news of the Bill received little coverage from the media.
When the small group of farmers met for the initial meeting, a motion was made by Mr. L.M. Chase, seconded by Mr. Rea Ward, voted to form the corporation that became known as Marshall County Rural Electric Membership Corporation. George Weissert was elected president and Mr. Chase was elected vice president and Andrew Metheny was named secretary-treasurer.
Once Marshall County R.E.M.C. had been formed it was in need of access to funds to begin the construction of the poles, lines, etc.
Fortunately, the Rural Electrification Act (REA) was passed in 1936 which provided federal loans for the installation of electrical distribution systems to serve the rural areas of the United States.
On November 10, 1936, a Rural Electrification Act (REA) loan in the amount of $185,000 was received by Marshall County R.E.M.C. This loan gave the financial backing needed to get the project off the ground. The first pole was set on the southwest corner of U.S. 30 and King Road on September 30, 1937. After much hard work, on April 30, 1938 the first customer, Roy Jacoby, was energized.
In the first year 25 miles of line was installed bringing power to 50 members for the first time. In those early years rural residents were interested in getting electricity to run a single light in each room, plus enough to run a few small appliances. At that time the minimum charge was $2.50 per month with many worrying they would not use enough electricity to justify the $2.50 charge.
Today, Marshall County R.E.M.C. serves roughly 6,000 members with over 7,200 electric meters. Currently there is approximately 1,058 miles of line with roughly 6.81 customers per mile. The average monthly electric usage per member is 1,200 KWH.