Our History

 Our History

Electric cooperatives were created to serve the best interests of their member-owners, and that's exactly what Sam Houston Electric Cooperative does.

In the early 1930s, the vast rural areas of America did not have access to the wonders of electricity. During this time, less than three percent of rural Americans received the benefits of electric service. After the signing of the Rural Electrification Act on May 21, 1936, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the “REA Movement” spread rapidly throughout the nation. The stories of the early days of rural electrification are much the same across the nations, with local men and women petitioning, educating and organizing their neighbors to demand electric service.

Sam Houston Electric Cooperative’s original founders first met on Aug. 27, 1938, in Polk County to plan their cooperative. On May 16, 1939, they received a charter from the State of Texas, and Sam Houston Electric Cooperative Inc. was born.

After obtaining an REA loan, the Co-op began construction of its first power lines, 242.86 miles, on Jan. 15, 1940, which would serve 661 members in Polk, San Jacinto, Walker and Liberty Counties. The power at that time came from Gulf States Utility Company to a substation in Goodrich. By 1943, Sam Houston EC had 1,306 members. In 1951, that number jumped to 7,500 consumers and 2,300 miles of line. Today, Sam Houston EC maintains 6,000 miles of line serving more than 56,000 members in parts of 10 counties.

Electricity didn’t just make life easier for our early members, electricity made life safer and more productive. Electricity allowed for food to be cooked without a fire, thus decreasing the amount of fires in rural areas. It also allowed for food to be safely stored in refrigerators. Prior to refrigerators, rural families would kill their hogs and chickens just prior to cooking them.

Rural families were accustomed to the lifestyle before electricity, it was normal for them. Those thoughts led some to believe that electricity was a luxury, something only the rich people or city folk had.

Ms. Bobbie and Allen Powell, Jr. were some of our very first members in Walker County. The Powell’s were the first to have electricity in their area, but it didn’t come right away. They bought a stove for around $200. In today’s market, that stove would cost nearly 10 times that amount. Their new stove sat in a box in a corner of their house for two years, waiting for lines to be built.

Today, our member-owners can’t imagine life without electricity. It keeps homes comfortable, no matter the season. Food can be stored, refrigerated and then reheated in a matter of seconds in microwaves. Smart phones are charged daily, and allow connectivity to the internet so we can contact family and friends across the world. Even life-sustaining medical equipment allows our member-owners to live in comfort in their homes instead of a hospital. Sam Houston EC strives to provide outstanding service that each of our members deserve to power the life they want to live.

The Cooperative has returned to our roots in some ways to power our member-owners for the next 80 years as the R.C. Thomas Hydroelectric Facility at Lake Livingston will provide a clean and renewable energy source. The Cooperative also provides wind-generated power to our members and we look to other alternative sources for energy to remain a leader in the industry.

Our members are our partners. We provide and maintain quality electric service at the lowest possible cost. Sam Houston EC’s mission, as set forth by our Board of Directors, is to achieve member satisfaction by providing safe, reliable services at competitive prices and to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve, utilizing an exceptional workforce, while maintaining financial stability.

The Story of the Star

The 3-dimensional star in our logo has special meaning. Modeled after the star that sits atop the San Jacinto Monument honoring Sam Houston, the man, the star in our logo symbolizes what Sam Houston Electric Cooperative is all about.

History. Service. Vision.

  • We have more than 75 years of heritage in East Texas
  • We are committed to providing reliable and affordable service
  • We work hard to uphold our vision to serve the best interests of our member-owners