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Our History

Early picture of lineman on top of the power pole.One of the most important dates in rural America's history is May 21, 1936.

On this date President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Rural Electrification Act that spurred the organization of rural electric cooperatives nationwide. These cooperatives were able to borrow funds from the newly formed Rural Electrification Administration (REA) which is known today as the Rural Utility Service (RUS). The funds borrowed enabled construction of electric distribution lines that brought electricity to rural Americans who wanted electricity just like their urban friends.


L. Weeks Anderson was named the first manager of Roanoke Electric Cooperative on March 21, 1939 after the cooperative was chartered on September 30, 1938. There were 317 member-owners when Roanoke Electric first energized its original 56 miles of line on May 29, 1939. Since that time the system has expanded to over 2,000 miles of line serving more than 14,500 member-owners in Bertie, Halifax, Hertford, Northampton, Gates, Perquimans and Chowan Counties.


The cooperative has had three other general managers since it was first formed. Vernon Taylor set the first pole in late 1938 and was later named general manager of Roanoke Electric on March 20, 1944. Taylor remained general manager until his retirement on February 27, 1981.


Eugene W. Brown Jr. who began service for the cooperative on August 17, 1970 as the director of Member Services was then named as general manager of Roanoke Electric Cooperative on March 1, 1981. On October 15, 1997 Brown relinquished his duties as general manager and retired.


On October 13, 1997, Curtis Wynn began his administration as the leader of Roanoke EC.  Wynn is the first African American in the nation to serve as the top executive of an electric cooperative.  Under his leadership, many awards have been given to the Roanoke EC, i.e., the 2000 and 2005 National Rural Electric Cooperative Community Service Network Award making REC one of the most progressive co-ops today. Wynn continues to expand on the cooperative principles: voluntary and open membership, democratic member control, member economic participation, autonomy and independence, education, training and information, and concern for community.


Roanoke Electric building in Ahoskie NC.The first office was one room in the Farm Security Administration office building in Halifax, NC. The headquarters moved to Rich Square in 1941, then moved to a different location in the town until 1952, when it moved to what is now known as 409 N. Main Street. In 2004, this facility also became the home of The Roanoke Center, a multipurpose facility designed to serve as the catalyst for economic development in the cooperative’s service area.  In November 2009, Roanoke Electric moved its core operation to just outside the city limits of Ahoskie, North Carolina to 518 NC 561 W, Aulander, North Carolina.  The Roanoke Center still remains in Rich Square.


Though originally organized to provide light and power to farms, REC has kept pace with changing times and now serves a wide variety of industrial, recreational, educational, community and other interests in addition to farms.

News and Events

September 15, 2017

Have you ever wondered what causes your power to go out or blink?  Roanoke Electric Co-op takes pride in being able to keep your lights on.  However, we do recognize that sometime outages may occur.  The video below gives insight about the most common causes of power outages.

September 15, 2017

Roanoke Electric Co-op is now offering its ecobee3 thermostat at no cost to member-owners. In the past, member-owners could purchase the Wi-Fi enabled thermostat at up to 60 percent off of retail price.  Now, member-owners pay absolutely nothing for the thermostat and still enjoy the monthly savings of at least $4.00.

September 13, 2017

From Curtis Wynn, president and CEO

In honor of our history and future, we will be celebrating National Co-op Month in October.  Please join us in celebrating by stopping by our office and enjoying free snacks, getting some great information, and various giveaways every Friday in the month of October.

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