Big Horn Rural Electric Company has proudly served its members for almost 80 years. Since it was first incorporated on April 2, 1937, Big Horn has operated under the Seven Cooperative Principles. These principles ensure that our members have a say in the cooperative's business by electing a board of directors from among the members. They provide a way for our members to invest in and improve their system while also giving them an opportunity to share in the profits of the cooperative. The business of the cooperative is handled by local board members and employees that live in and are familiar with the area. We have a local office in Basin with outposts in Lovell and Ten Sleep. We work with other businesses in the community to keep the Big Horn Basin economically strong.
The first concept of Big Horn REC was planted in 1935 at a summer picnic sponsored by the County Farm Bureau and held on the Davis Ranch east of Greybull, Wyoming. Ranchers, farmers and their families in attendance listened to Big Horn County Agent, K.E. Van Wagenen, explain how much easier their lives would be with electricity. Several communities were being separately canvassed to determine the interest in bringing electricity to the area. The Washington Office recommended combining efforts and a countywide cooperative, Big Horn Rural Electric, was formed.
On February 13, 1937, the REA allotted $82,000 for the Greybull Valley project. Big Horn formally filed its Articles of Incorporation on April 2, 1937. At 5:45 p.m., February 1, 1938 M.M. Roush threw the switch energizing the line and turning on the lights to 225 family farms in the Greybull Valley and Emblem Bench area. It was just 352 days from the date the first loan was granted.
Big Horn's system continued to expand and now provides electricity to 3,400 services in Big Horn, Park, Washakie, Johnson and Sheridan Counties in Wyoming; and Carbon and Big Horn Counties in Montana.
Big Horn REC was created to provide power to its members at the lowest cost consistent with good business practices. Although tools, equipment and technology have advanced, the principles on which we were founded are just as strong today as the day we began business in 1937.