The San Isabel Electric Association, headquartered in Pueblo West, Colorado, is one of 22 electric cooperatives that provide dependable, central station, electric service to the residential, commercial, and agriculture consumers in the state of Colorado.
The history of San Isabel Electric and its formation is one of self help, people banding together to provide a service to themselves that no one else would furnish. That tradition continues today.
It all started in 1938 when a Pueblo county extension agent told some area ranchers of the possibility of forming a rural electric cooperative and of obtaining Rural Electrification Administration (REA) loan funds to build their own electric system. Residents in Pueblo County had long sought electric service but had been told it was not feasible.
A board of directors was established and informed by REA that it would take 300 members to make a project feasible. The 300 members were obtained, and on July 2, 1940, the board received notice from REA that their loan in the amount of $108,000 had been approved. The board held a special meeting on that date and hired their first manager. They also adopted rate schedules, employed a consulting engineer, and instructed him to prepare the necessary layouts, plans, and specifications to get the project under construction.
Today, San Isabel has grown to 3,809 miles of distribution and transmission lines to serve 24,000 consumer-owners over a 9,600 square mile area in all or part of seven counties in southern Colorado. San Isabel continues the same tradition that was started in 1938, that of a consumer-owned public utility that is owned by the members that it serves.