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.
July: Idea of a rural electric cooperative and Rural Electrification Administration (REA) formed
January: P.I.C.K. Cooperative Electric Association is incorporated (present day ECE)
July: Head of the Lakes Cooperative Electric Association incorporated by the state of Wisconsin
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
North Pine Electric Cooperative incorporated
PICK Electric joins the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
Self-billing by the member saves materials, labor, and time for the duration of World War II
August: PICK changes name to East Central Electric Association
"Million dollar business" reported at ECE's Annual Meeting
The first Capital Credits notices mailed to members
ECE acquires additional electric facilities through the merger with WACK electric facilities in the Mora area
Rural Cooperative Power Association signs contract with the Atomic Energy Commission to build a nuclear reactor in Elk River
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
REA announces loan to UPA to build lignite coal fired power plant and transmission facilities at Stanton, ND
Elk River Nuclear Reactor goes online
ECE moves into a new headquarters building at the north end of Braham
The Elk River Nuclear Reactor is dismantled
Northern Minnesota Power Association, Rural Cooperative Association, and United Power Association merge to form new United Power Association
UPA of Elk River and CPA of Minneapolis announce plans to build Coal Creek Station, a coal fired generating plant near Underwood, ND
ECE begins experimental load management program
50th Anniversary of ECE
A new Operations Center is constructed northeast of present ECE headquarters building
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
ECE becomes a Touchstone Energy® Partner
ECE launches ECENet
Operation Round-Up is introduced to continue ECE's community involvement
ECE begins construction of a $2.4 million customer service response center addition at our headquarters in Braham
By a vote of 10 to 1 by the membership, East Central Electric becomes East Central Energy
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
Merger with Head of the Lakes Electric Cooperative effective January 2003
ECE operations employees build the Langola Substation in Minnesota to serve the Rice and Royalton areas
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
ECE/HLEC plan of merger completed with the downsizing of the board of directors to 12 members
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
President/CEO Garry Bye retired with 25 years of service.
Steve Shurts became new President/CEO
ECE celebrated a major milestone: 75 years of providing reliable energy
ECE celebrated the International Year of the Cooperatives
ECE employees and contractors rebuild a substation near Gilman, MN
Northland Connect Broadband reorganizes leaving ECENet, LLC with a 44.44% ownership
Solar array constructed at ECE Braham headquarters
ECE introduced SmartHub, a new digital tool for members
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
Superior, WI, service center changes to operations facility
ECE installs a 240-Volt electric vehicle charging station for use by visitors and the public at Braham Headquarters
ECE purchases first electric vehicle (EV), a 2018 Chevy Bolt.
A two-megawatt solar array is installed on 15 acres in Cambridge, MN. ECE also purchases the co-op’s first drone and two employees become certified to operate.
March 16, 2020: The spreading COVID-19 pandemic closes ECE lobbies, and most employees begin working from home.
July 2020: President/CEO Steve Shurts retired with 10 years of service. Justin Jahnz became new President/CEO.