Our History and Milestones


For anything to stand, it must be built on a firm foundation. Much of Joe Wheeler EMC’s success can be credited to our humble beginnings and the dedication and determination of its founding members. Many years have passed since electricity was first brought to rural Morgan and Lawrence counties, and much has changed. We look to the future as we pay tribute to our past.

Before the formation of Joe Wheeler EMC, private power companies supplied electricity to a few towns and heavily populated communities, but the private power companies wouldn’t build lines to the sparsely settled rural areas because of the implied financial risk. However, the people who lived in these rural areas were the people who could benefit most from electricity. They needed electricity to help do everyday chores like boil water, unload cottonseed, and wash clothing. They needed to be members of an electric cooperative. The opportunity came on March 23, 1937 at an organizational meeting held in Hartselle. Little did they know, it was only the beginning.

On April 14, 1937, the Joe Wheeler Electric Membership Cooperative was formed. Bylaws were adopted and W.T. Price was elected president. Preparation was soon made for a power contract between the Tennessee Valley Authority and the cooperative.

Operations began on October 1, 1937 with only 190 miles of line and 900 members. Total consumption was less than 5 million kilowatt-hours and the cost per kilowatt-hour was $0.225 (residential only).

Our greatest growth occurred between 1947 and 1952. With the end of World War II and the availability of many new electrical appliances, the demand for electrical service grew tremendously. Over 1500 miles of electrical lines were installed in JWEMC’s membership area during those four years and membership rose from 3,469 to 10,490.

Now, Joe Wheeler EMC is recognized as one of Alabama’s most efficient and progressive cooperatives. We have received the Alabama Rural Electric Association’s safety award year after year and are known as one of the forerunners in technological advancement within the body of Alabama electric cooperatives. Our dedication to community service, honest and dependable employees and visionary management have set us apart as a caring member of the Morgan and Lawrence county communities for over 60 years, and we are determined to continue and expand the great relationship we have with our membership. We are just as proud of our past as we are of our goals for the future, and know that together Joe Wheeler EMC and our members can make things even better for the people of North Alabama in years to come.