A&N Electric Cooperative provides electric service to Virginia's Eastern Shore and Smith Island in Somerset County, Maryland.
Cooperatives like us began in the 1930s. At that time, more than 50 years after the first American neighborhood was lighted, rural areas were being left in the dark because it was too expensive to provide electricity. Without power, the simplest of farm chores remained back-breaking work.
Rural electrification was one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s relief projects announced Jan. 4, 1935. The following April, Congress appropriated $100 million for the project, and the next month Executive Order 7037 created the Rural Electrification Administration (REA). On Nov. 29, 1935, the Farmers Rural Utilities organized as Virginia’s first non-profit utility corporation.
In March 1936, the Virginia General Assembly approved the Electric Cooperatives Act.
On the Eastern Shore, ordinary citizens set about to form a cooperative that would light up their portion of the peninsula. They went door-to-door to garner support, and eventually they secured funding from the Rural Electrification Administration that had been created by President Roosevelt in 1935. The newly formed Accomack-Northampton Electric Cooperative took over the Parksley Power and Coal Supply in August of 1940, and the effort to light the two counties of the Eastern Shore was off and running.
On Jan. 1, 1968, Accomack-Northampton assumed responsibility for the Chesapeake Islands Electric Co-op. Chesapeake Islands Electric Co-op consisted of diesel engines generating power for Tangier Island, Va. And Smith Island, Md. This power supply continued for 10 years until May 5, 1978, when a power line was run from the mainland to the islands.
On June 27, 1977, Accomack-Northampton changed its name to A&N Electric Cooperative.
In 2005, A&N Electric Cooperative moved into its new Tasley office facility. The cooperative had been headquartered in Parksley.
Today A&N Electric Cooperative continues to provide electric service to its members in the counties of Accomack and Northampton on Virginia's Eastern Shore and Smith Island, Md. The Cooperative is non-profit, with no outside investors. The same refundable $5 fee charged in 1940 is all that is required to become a member. Any profits are returned to customers in the form of capital credits.