Marshall Co REMC
Welcome to Marshall Co REMC!
Located in Plymouth, Indiana, Marshall Co REMC is a membership cooperative delivering power to more than 6,000 residential and commercial members in the rural areas of Marshall, Elkhart, Fulton, Kosciusko, St. Joseph, and Starke counties.
Marshall Co REMC is a non-profit member cooperative. This means that our members are also owns of the cooperative and therefore are entitled to many benefits. These benefits include democratic control through the election of fellow members to the board of directors, strength in numbers through the collaboration of other cooperatives both locally and nationally.
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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 1,042 miles of line with roughly 6.81 customers per mile. The average monthly electric usage per member is 1,200 KWH.
All cooperative businesses adhere to seven guiding principles:
- Voluntary and Open Membership — Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political, or religious discrimination.
- Democratic Member Control — Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. The elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary cooperatives, members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and cooperatives at other levels are organized in a democratic manner.
- Members’ Economic Participation — Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing the cooperative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
- Autonomy and Independence — Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their cooperative autonomy.
- Education, Training, and Information — Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public, particularly young people and opinion leaders, about the nature and benefits of cooperation.
- Cooperation Among Cooperatives — Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures.
- Concern for Community — While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.
Marshall County REMC is the recipient of Federal financial assistance from the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In accordance with Federal law and U.S Department of Agriculture policy, this institution (Marshall County REMC) is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age or disability.
The person responsible for coordinating this organization’s nondiscrimination compliance efforts is Dave Lewallen, General Manager of Marshall County REMC. Any individual, or specific class of individuals, who feels that this organization has subjected them to discrimination, may file a written complaint with this organization; the Director, Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 20250; or the Administrator, Rural Utility Service, Washington D.C. 20250. Complaints must be filed within 180 days after the alleged discriminatory action. Identity of complainants will be kept confidential except to the extent necessary to carry out the purpose of the rules and regulations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.