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Celebrating Our Powerful Independence

Each July 4, we commemorate the birth of our nation. It is a time to remember how citizens living in 13 colonial states took part in winning American independence and established the United States of America.

Members of Nolin RECC have double the reason to celebrate independence this year. It was 75 years ago this July 7 that ordinary Kentuckians representing 3 electric cooperatives banded together to make rural electricity more accessible, reliable, and affordable for their members.

Though they’d begun building their distribution lines and had established service to many farms and homes, Kentucky electric co-ops existing in 1940 were forced to pay high prices for power supplied by nearby municipalities or investor-owned utilities. Meanwhile, consumer demand for rural electricity was growing far beyond projections.

It became increasingly clear to local leaders that their electric cooperatives needed an independent way to produce their power. In 1941, representatives of 13 local distribution cooperatives formed East Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation (now  known as East Kentucky Power Cooperative, EKPC) and began making plans to build their own electricity generation plants.

Not unlike our nation’s forefathers, co-op members had to fight for their independence. Some powerful interests resorted to legal battles to stall the establishment of cooperative-owned power plants. But the cooperative men and women ultimately prevailed and EKPC opened its first generation plant in 1954.

Today, EKPC is owned and governed by 16 local distribution co-ops, including Nolin, and our power supply now comes from generating plants in Clark, Mason, Oldham, and Pulaski counties, along with renewable energy plants in Boone, Greenup, Hardin, Laurel, Pendleton, and Barren counties. Another source of energy comes to us through hydroelectric plants at Wolf Creek and Laurel dams in Kentucky.

Your cooperative has a proud past, and a bright future. Pending approval by state regulators, Nolin and Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives will be adding to our power supply with the construction of one of the state’s largest solar projects in Winchester.

From the pioneering efforts of our electric co-op forefathers 75 years ago to the initiatives of leadership today, there are many achievements worthy of commemoration this July. Please join me in celebrating our powerful independence.

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