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History
Our history is as rich as our commitment is deep. We began as a mere idea and have grown into the third largest utility in Minnesota.Take a trip with us down memory lane.

1935
July: Idea of a rural electric cooperative and Rural Electrification Administration (REA) formed

1936
January: PICK Electrical Cooperative is incorporated (present day ECE)
July: Head of the Lakes Cooperative Electric Association incorporated by the state of Wisconsin

1939
PICK and four other neighboring electric associations help to organize the Rural Cooperative Power Association
July: Construction planned for a combination office, garage, and warehouse for PICK

1940
North Pine Electric Cooperative incorporated

1942
PICK Electric joins the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

1943
Self-billing by the member saves materials, labor, and time for the duration of World War II

1946
August: PICK changes name to East Central Electric Association

1949
"Million dollar business" reported at ECE's Annual Meeting

1954
The first Capital Credits notices mailed to members

1957
ECE acquires additional electric facilities through the merger with WACK electric facilities in the Mora area

1958
Rural Cooperative Power Association signs contract with the Atomic Energy Commission to build a nuclear reactor in Elk River

1959
ECE has 2,800 miles of line serving 12,500 members
The first Capital Credits for 1938 and 1939 paid out at the ECE Annual Meeting

1963
REA announces loan to UPA to build lignite coal fired power plant and transmission facilities at Stanton, ND

1964
Elk River Nuclear Reactor goes online
ECE moves into a new headquarters building at the north end of Braham

1968
The Elk River Nuclear Reactor is dismantled

1972
Northern Minnesota Power Association, Rural Cooperative Association, and United Power Association merge to form new United Power Association

1974
UPA of Elk River and CPA of Minneapolis announce plans to build Coal Creek Station, a coal fired generating plant near Underwood, ND

1978
ECE begins experimental load management program

1986
50th Anniversary of ECE

1991
A new Operations Center is constructed northeast of present ECE headquarters building

1995
July: ECE and North Pine Electric merge to serve over 36,000 members on more than 6,000 miles of line
United Power Association (UPA) and Cooperative Power merge and form Great River Energy

1997
ECE becomes a Touchstone Energy Partner
ECE launches ECENet
Operation Round-Up is introduced to continue ECE's community involvement

1998
ECE begins construction of a $2.4 million customer service response center addition at our headquarters in Braham

1999
By a vote of 10 to 1 by the membership, East Central Electric becomes East Central Energy

2002
Members of ECE and Head of the Lakes Electric Cooperative approve merger vote. The combined cooperatives serve over 50,000 homes and business on more than 7,500 miles of line

2003
Merger with Head of the Lakes Electric Cooperative effective January 2003

2004
ECE operations employees build the Langola Substation in Minnesota to serve the Rice and Royalton areas

2005
Joined with three other Minnesota cooperatives to form Northland Connect Broadband, LLC to offer WildBlue® Satellite high-speed Internet
First tenant in St. Cloud Airport Busines Park, owned by ECE

2006
ECE/HLEC plan of merger completed with the downsizing of the board of directors to 12 members

History