History of Arab Electric Cooperative, Inc.
In the year 1946, a group of citizens of Arab, realizing the need of electric power to all the people living in this area, began to look into the possibility of buying out the electric system owned by the Alabama Power Company, which served only the city and a small number of rural homes
These people, not pleased with this arrangement, began to make immediate plans to form an electric cooperative owned by its members, to serve all the area within a given boundary.
A Board of Directors was formed: these being; W.H. Griffith, President, Robert Mason, Vice President, J.D. Medlock, Secretary & Treasurer, L. H. McDaniel, J. M. Taylor, J.W. Rowe, John McCutcheon, L. A. Hyatt and Joe Kelley, Directors. Along with Mr. Woodrow Hinds, Mayor of the City of Arab, they immediately went to the Rural Electrification Association, a division of the agricultural department of the United States Government. Through R.E.A. the Cooperative was granted the right to become a Cooperative, known as the Arab Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Through the Rural Electrification Administration, a loan was secured to purchase the electric facilities serving the area with electricity, with wholesale power to be purchased from Tennessee Valley Authority, this being in the year 1947.
The year of 1947, the Cooperative served only 1,322 customers, with headquarters located at 227 North Main Street, Arab, Alabama. Requests began to be made to extend the lines to the entire rural section of Brindlee Mountain. Again, an additional loan was made by R.E.A. to extend Arab Electric Cooperative facilities, giving electricity to all who requested. With this progress being made, the Arab Electric Cooperative, Inc., in 1950, moved to 115 South Main Street, with 2,987 customers being served over 379 miles of line, and this was the beginning of the growth we have enjoyed for several years. In 1960 we were serving 4,473 customers over 414 miles of line. As of the year ending 1967, we were now serving 6,285 customers over 525 miles of line. However, in the past four years, we have completely rehabilitated the entire system and added three new substations. Then in 1967, the contract for a new headquarters building was approved by your Board and Rural Electrification Administration, making these fine facilities possible. The Arab Electric Cooperative, with all its fine facilities, is the best of all electric operations anywhere.
We feel that there has been tremendous progress made in the short time the Arab Electric Cooperative has been organized. Under the excellent leadership of the Board of Trustees, to date there being three to serve as President, there are W.H. Griffith, Ernest Spiegle and Dempsey Isom, along with 27 trustees who have served with these Presidents.
Dr. Walter Griffith, who was the first President, served in this capacity from 1947 through 1963. Under Dr. Griffith’s leadership, the Cooperative grew from infancy to 4,500 customers. The second President was Mr. Ernest Spiegle, and under his leadership the entire electric facilities were rebuilt, giving adequate service to the entire system, this being necessary by the vast growth in this area. Then in 1966 plans were completed and the contract was let to house the Arab Electric Cooperative, Inc., with completion in 1968. The third President presently serving is Mr. Dempsey Isom. Under the excellent leadership the Cooperative is accelerating in every phase of operation with new thoughts and ideas for tomorrow’s growth.
As of August 2018, Arab Electric Cooperative now serves 12,686 residential accounts, 2,557 small commercial accounts, 191 large commercial accounts as well as 157 lighting accounts. Our total number of accounts is 15,591. AECI has 1,247 miles of distribution line that delivers power purchased from Tennessee Valley Authority to our members.