North Carolina and Electricity



Electricity, once it was harnessed, was installed into large communities, but small communities and rural areas weren't offered electric service. In Apr 1935, by an act in the North Carolina General Assembly, created the North Carolina Rural Electrification Authority, a means to provide cooperative electric service to rural areas in North Carolina. The NCREA was composed of six members, chosen by the governor, to survey the needs of farming communities, assist communities in organizing cooperatives, help these cooperatives obtain financing and assist privately owned power companies in extending service to rural areas. When electricity was first connected in cities, they used small transformers that could only provide sufficient power for about four miles. In a larger community, the number of locations in a four mile stretch, made the process economical. However, in rural areas, the population in a four mile stretch was much less. When the Rural Electrification Administration was created, they used transformers that were nearly three times as large and provided sufficient power along a forty mile stretch. Although it was believed that it would cost must more, the cost was actually pretty economical. When electrical power was brought to farmhouses and barns, they were installed with a 60 amp, 230 volt fuse panel with a 60 amp range circuit, a 20 amp kitchen circuit and two or three 15 amp lighting circuits. A ceiling-mounted light fixture was installed in each room, usually controlled by a single switch near a door. One outlet was installed per room at most, since plug-connected appliances were uncommon. Wiring was performed using a non-metallic sheathed cable insulated with asbestos-reinforced rubber covered with jute and tar. Once homes had electricity, some of the first household appliances purchased were irons and radios. Listening to the "Grand Ole Opry" broadcast from Nashville became the Saturday night pastime in many farmhouses. Other electrical appliances purchased were refrigerators, washing machines, electric ranges and vacuum cleaners as budgets allowed. Running water made indoor bathrooms possible. Today, habitable homes have electricity and most have more than one outlet per room. We have refrigerators, freezers, vacuum cleaners, air conditioners, irons, radios, televisions, computers and the list goes on and on. Many today have no clue how people lived without electricity! The changes that have happened in 80 years!



North Carolina Rural Electrification Authority Board Members

Board MemberStartedEnded
Alderman, J Ronnie20032015
Allen, E F19381949
Allen, T W19491950
Babson, Lester C19761979
Bagley, Dudley W19351943
Balance, C L19511966
Beason, Donald R19741975
Benson, W Kitchin1966
1971
1969
1973
Boney, Hubert C19491953
Burrow, Sam J Jr19661968
Cox, Edith C20032015
Cox, Richard19881995
Creed, Buddy C20022013
Davis, Mrs Fred B19551963
Denny, Weldon B19721972
Duncan, L Calvin19942013
Eason, Emily19771985
Gabriel, Henry C19861993
Gambrill, Molly C20002002
Greene, Kenneth R2013 
Greene, Richard H19841987
Hawkins, Novile19801983
Hobbs, S H Jr19351968
Holden, Robert G19731976
Horne, J L Jr19351938
Huffman, George19801983
Hughes, George R19531957
James, Frank19841987
Justice, Joseph G19942013
Keith, Frederick B19761979
Kopp, John R2013 
Maxwell, Robert G2016 
McDonald, A W19841985
McKimmon, Jane S19351948
McKinney, Heyward H19841985
Melton, James S19771979
Miller, William E19741976
Mintz, Harry L Jr19571960
Palmer, Glenn C19491971
Pigg, John D19861987
Price, Gwyn B19441973
Purcell, D E19381954
Robinson, Rodney19881993
Rowe, Wilton O19801983
Scott, Milton V19611966
Scott, W Kerr19351938
Seawell, Russel C19771983
Sheek, James L19881993
Sherard, W M19381949
Sloan, R B19861993
Smiley, Walter S19681973
Sowers, Roy G19631963
Spivey, Donald H2013 
Stephens, George M19351938
Taylor, William K19942001
Teague, Worthy B Jr19741976
Thompson, J C19701976
Thompson, W Avery19601961
Thornton, Robert L19941995
Wilson, Alice E19962002
Woodell, Harrelton19961999




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