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NRECA: The Electric Cooperative Story




The Lane-Scott Electric Cooperative, Inc. was organized by J. A. Niedens, Charles Bretz, R. L. Harper, Ray Terwilliger, Charles Strobel, R. O. Preusch, Carl A. Greenburg, O. J. Unruh, and D. W. Stewart.  The charter was granted just in time for the Cooperative to become inactive because of wartime loan restrictions and material shortages.



In September, the organization was reactivated with some changes in membership and leadership.  R. L. Harper was elected president, R. B. Christy, vice-president, and R. O. Preusch, secretary.  Raymond Pearce, F. A. Dickenson, R. N. Allen, and Paul Conner replaced four of the original trustees.  The Cooperative's offices were moved from Healy, Kansas, to Dighton.  E. T. Shields was appointed attorney for the Cooperative, and J. C. Leavitt was selected as the system engineer.



By the Spring, line construction had progressed enough that a power source became a pertinent problem.  Dighton had offered its power plant and community system, but the Cooperative declined the offer, even though the board recognized that energizing of the system would be delayed if the offer were rejected.  Two portable generators were procured from LaJunta, Colorado, by assuming the notes due on the equipment.  These generators were used only a month and then were transferred to an area near a military base on the Atlantic coast.
Harvey Callender became the first General Manager of Lane-Scott Electric and served until 1950.
REA reports that consumers are being connected at an average of two per minute.



In June, the "A" section was energized, using power supplied by the Western Light and Telephone Company.  The following month, the "C" section contract was let for construction of 381 miles of line.  By October, the "B" section was also energized.
REA's Area coverage pledge, stipulating that borrowers provide service to everyone in the area who might want it, is made part of the REA loan contract.  This pledge is designed to ensure that electrification is not limited to profitable areas.

June 14, 1950

The second paragraph of the articles of incorporation amended to read “the address of the principal office of the cooperative is Dighton, Kansas.”
Land for the substation was purchased from Herman & Neva Ehmke by Lane-Scott Electric Cooperative.


In September, the Lane-Scott Cooperative discontinued purchasing power from the Western Light and Telephone Company and began using power generated by the Wheatland Cooperative.  This arrangement is unique among Kansas cooperatives; no other cooperative is totally supplied by power generated by another cooperative.  The last major section of line was energized in the fall using Wheatland power.  The power contract between Wheatland and Lane-Scott is an all-requirement 35-year contract at a rate equal to the cost of service to the Cooperative.
The National Rural Energy Cooperative Association (NRECA) adopts "Willie Wirehand," drawn by Andrew L. McLay, as a symbol of rural electric cooperative power use.
Ralph Hall began his term as the General Manager of Lane-Scott Electric Cooperative, Inc. and served the coop until 1965.


In October, Lane-Scott was given the opportunity to serve the City of Dighton; Lane-Scott accepted this responsibility.
KEC starts publishing Kansas Electric Farmer, a monthly tabloid newspaper.  Articles promote electric farm shops, single phase motors, and honors 4-H Electric Awards.  Eventually, the publication develops into a magazine-type format, and the name is changed to Kansas Country Living.


REA approves first loan for a nuclear-fueled power plant to a cooperative in Minnesota.


Sunflower Electric Cooperative is incorporated to help Central Kansas Power Company (CKP) manage load growth in the area. Later that year, Sunflower signs a lease operating agreement with CKP to finance construction of a 22-MW generating unit at CKP’s Hill City Plant.


The Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) establishes that the utility with the closest electric service line to a new customer is granted a certificate. Unfortunately, as utilities fought to supply electricity, the consumer was forced to wait for service.


KEC files an application with the KCC for a Certificate of Convenience and authority to transact the business of an electric public utility.


Sunflower Plant No. 1, a 22,000 kW unit is built at the Ross Beach Station outside Hill City. The Sunflower No. 1 Project is the first power-type loan by REA in Kansas and only the 38th in the nation. The unit is operated by Central Kansas Power Company, Hays, Kansas.


Construction begins on the KEC headquarters building on West 21st , Topeka, Kansas. KEC occupies the building until its move to new headquarters in June 1990.


Raymond J. Sprenkle becomes the General Manager of Lane-Scott Electric Cooperative, Inc. and serves until 1969.


After learning that Sunflower was planning to build a power plant and the necessary transmission to get in business, KEC withdraws its application for a certificate from the KCC and gives unqualified and unanimous support to Sunflower. Later that year, KCC approved plans for Sunflower-2 generation unit.


The National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC) is incorporated.

Richard McKeehan becomes General Manager for Lane-Scott Electric and serves until 1973.


Ground is broken for Sunflower-2, a 90 MW unit in Garden City, Kansas.


The electric Job Training and Safety program is transferred from Kansas State University to KEC.


The Department of Agriculture announces REA’s two percent direct loan programs are being discontinued. Legislators of both parties join rural electric leaders in opposition to the ending of the REA direct loan program. The program was restored later in 1973.


Sunflower Electric dedicates Generating Plant No. 2 at Garden City. Later that summer, the OPEC oil embargo begins.
Maurice O’Brien started his term as the General Manager for Lane-Scott Electric. He would serve as the General Manger for 18 years.


KEC begins operating the Group Purchasing Program.


The Retail Electric Suppliers Act is passed by the Kansas Legislature to establish certified areas for electrical service.


In January 1979 a major blizzard in Southwest Kansas knocked out power to between 1,500 and 2,000 meters. Winds between 20 and 30 mph caused snow drifts of up to four feet and knocked down a half-mile stretch of poles.


Lane-Scott Electric returned its first capital credits to its members. Since then, the cooperative has paid back over 2 million dollars in capital credits.


Thomas Husted becomes the General Manager of Lane-Scott Electric. He would serve the cooperative until 1996.


Jack Clinkscale becomes the General Manager of the Cooperative.  He would serve Lane-Scott until 2001.


Lane-Scott becomes a partner with other electric cooperatives to form High Plains Energy – supplying propane to area homes and businesses.


After months of preparation, Lane-Scott enters the new millennium with no Y2K-related problems.

July 18, 2000

Lane-Scott Electric Cooperative, Inc. holds their 50th Annual Meeting of the cooperative at the Lane Co. Fairgrounds in Dighton, Kansas.


Lane-Scott Electric continues its commitment to the community and educating future leaders by establishing the Junior Board of Trustees.
Earl Steffens becomes the General Manager of Lane-Scott Electric Cooperative.


Lane-Scott starts a wholly owned subsidiary, High Line Services, LLC. This was started to provide pole testing, infrared services and power line construction. Currently, HLS is only providing power line construction.


Ice storm in Ness County caused damages of 1.2 million dollars – FEMA was there to help rebuild 21 miles of our system.


December 30, the entire Lane-Scott system was without power for over 3 days and some members did not get their electricity back on for 18 days. Lane-Scott lost over 2,700 poles and more than 400 miles of line in need of replacing. This storm caused approximately 25 million dollars in damage.
Mid-Kansas Electric Cooperative (MKEC) was formed to purchase the Aquila Kansas property.


In April, a tornado touches down in southern Ness County and Lane-Scott loses 200 poles.
MKEC purchase was completed on December 31, 2007.

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