Wharton County Electric Cooperative members are gathering at the Civic Center tonight, one day after the co-op celebrated its 81st birthday.

Tonight’s annual meeting includes the election of three directors as well as reports from the co-op’s president Leroy Kaspar and manager Gary Raybon and the traditional meal.

It’s something the co-op has done through most of its existence,

Efforts to bring power to rural Wharton County got started in 1937 with the first line energized about two years later.

The customer base grew throughout the 1940s and 1950s along with the number of lines as the company struggled to find wholesale power.

The South Texas Electric Cooperative which is still in use today formed in 1962 offering generation and transmission services to WCEC and five other cooperatives.

At the end of 1963, WCEC had 2,623 members, it now counts in excess of 4,000 with more than 6,300 meters.

“Our goal is to provide reliable power, not make a profit. We are democratically governed by a board of directors elected by our members, and we return to our members any revenue above what is needed for operation in the form of capital credits,” General Manager Gary Raybon said.

WCEC services about 1,200 miles of power lines over West Wharton County, parts of southwest Colorado County, north Matagorda County and east Jackson County.

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