In 1935, the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) was established by executive order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt for the purpose of lending money to cooperatives, commercial power companies, and others to build rural power lines. In 1936, Congress passed the Rural Electrification Act, which established the REA as an agency of the federal government.
When the commercial power companies did not take advantage of the REA loans to build rural power lines, REA began to assist local member-owned electric cooperatives to organize and incorporate. Thus, on March 8, 1939, Beauregard Electric Cooperative, Inc. (BECi) was chartered under Louisiana Laws.
Beauregard Electric Cooperative
The Beauregard Electric Membership Corporation, with general headquarters in DeRidder, is a Louisiana Corporation organized in 1939 to furnish dependable electric service to the rural areas of Southwest and Central Louisiana. The cooperative is a non-profit membership corporation – owned and controlled by the members which it serves.
BECi energized its first lines in 1940. Managing the fledgling member-owned utility was R.I. Davis. The average electric bill was $2.90 for 32 kilowatt-hours or about nine cents a kilowatt-hour. BECi’s annual payroll was $750 and it had two service vehicles. In 2010, the average electric bill was $130.51 for 1,498 kilowatt-hours or less than nine cents a kilowatt-hour.
Today, BECi serves over 39,000 member-owners along 5,750 miles of power line. Remarkably, BECi charges the same today for a kilowatt-hour of electricity as its first members paid 76 years ago. That’s an achievement few other utilities or commercial operations can claim.
Our homepage banner photo was taken by local photographer Jonathan Nutt.
Jonathan was born in San Antonio, Texas, in October of 1967. Jonathan moved with his family to Moss Bluff, Louisiana at the age of 4. His love of the outdoors began before he was old enough to walk. As he grew, photography became his way of sharing what I saw with others while exploring the woods and wetlands near his home.
As a regular contributor to Louisiana Life and New Orleans Magazines, Jonathan has spent the last 30 years documenting the places and people who make Louisiana so unique. His corporate, commercial, and editorial clients include Southwest Airlines, Kodak, Louisiana Conservationist, and The National Geographic Society, to name a few. His fine art prints are in the collections of individuals, corporations, and organizations around the world. To learn more and to see more of his work, please visit his Lost in Louisiana website.