When Coastal Electric Cooperative was organized in June 1940, its founders could not have known that in a little more than a year, the United States would be deeply embroiled in World War II. In rural coastal Georgia, our boys who would be coming home from the service had only two opportunities: Stay near their homes and work on the farm; or move to the city, where electricity powered the factories and industry offered opportunities to earn good money and have a better life.

From the Past to ‘The Next Greatest Thing’

Without electricity, all work was done by hand. There was no refrigeration to keep milk cold. Water was lifted from open wells by hand. With only dim flickering oil lamps by which to read, life was essentially a sunrise-to-sunset proposition. But with the coming of electricity, that world was about to change.

Rural couple eating dinner with kerosene lantern at the light source

Through the commitment of a $5 membership fee from each of a few hundred residents of Liberty and McIntosh counties, Coastal Electric Cooperative borrowed $138,000 from the Rural Electric Administration and built the first power lines down Harris Neck Road in north McIntosh County.

Female teacher demonstrating electric lighting to rural students

Soon Coastal Electric linemen would extend power lines throughout the region, and oil lamps would be replaced by electric lights.

Tenant farm family in a house with an electric meter installed on the exterior

In a rural church, a member gave this testimony: “Brothers and sisters, I want to tell you this. The greatest thing on earth is to have the love of God in your heart, and the next greatest thing is to have electricity in your house.” The congregation echoed a resounding “Amen!”

Man speaking from bandwagon

While bringing electricity to the scattered communities in rural coastal Georgia truly was “the next greatest thing” in the 1940s, today Coastal Electric Cooperative looks with eager anticipation to the future and wonders, “What will be the ‘next greatest thing’ for our children?"

Rural electric line workers installing utility lines

The same electric lines that first brought electricity to the farms and homes now carry gigabits of data through strands of fiber-optic cable wound inside an aluminum conductor. Our advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) meters do so much more than just record your monthly electricity use. They lead our linemen to a power outage and a myriad of other things, from home automation to energy management.

Solar Panels

Just as the founders of Coastal Electric Cooperative never could have envisioned what their co-op would be more than 80 years after 1940, we can only imagine what will be the “next greatest thing” for the generation of young people who will live through future decades of service from Coastal Electric Cooperative.

Energy Solutions

There are lots of ways to save money on your electric bill, and we’ve got the info.