Skip to main navigation.

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 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

2008

ECE honored with Global Partner Award from NRECA International Foundation for its work in Pignon, Haiti
The Operation Round Up Trust surpassed the $1 million mark in donations to the communities served by ECE

2010

President/CEO Garry Bye retired with 25 years of service.
Steve Shurts became new President/CEO

2011

ECE celebrated a major milestone: 75 years of providing reliable energy

2012

ECE celebrated the International Year of the Cooperatives
ECE employees and contractors rebuild a substation near Gilman, MN

2013

Northland Connect Broadband reorganizes leaving ECENet, LLC with a 44.44% ownership

2014

Solar array constructed at ECE Braham headquarters
ECE introduced SmartHub, a new digital tool for members

2015

ECE began system-wide meter upgrade
ECE subsidiary COMO Oil and Propane sold to Thompson Gas, LLC.
First electric vehicle (EV) charging station installed by ECE at Cambridge Medical Center
SmartTrack® implemented for smoother scheduling and job coordination with line crews

2016

Superior, WI, service center changes to operations facility

Powered by Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Logo
Show it and save with the Co-op Connections Card. Together We Save