It’s hard to believe that 86 years ago, many of the areas we live in today had no possibility of accessing electric to service our farms, businesses, and homes. But with the establishment of the Rural Electrification Administration by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935, and the intuitiveness of 62 farmers, electricity was eventually made available through a series of events, which ultimately laid the foundation for The Frontier Power Company.
The city of Coshocton was first supplied with power by the Coshocton Lighting and Heating Company founded in 1888.The Ohio Service Company took on this role in 1913, and by 1923, the Ohio Power Company was servicing Coshocton. This was a great benefit to the city of Coshocton, but many of the rural areas were not included because of the large cost of construction for such a few accounts.
In 1936, 62 farmers organized to take action in bringing electricity to the rural areas of Coshocton, Tuscarawas, Guernsey, and Muskingum counties creating Muskingum Valley farm Bureau Electric Cooperative, Inc. The Farm Bureau organized the meeting and the formation of an electric co-op was sparked. Because of the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), low-interest loans were made available for borrowing to investor-owned companies or organizations which would electrify rural areas across the nation.
Later, Guernsey and Muskingum counties withdrew from the four county cooperative and formed their own cooperative due to the large geographic area that was to be serviced. On April 28, 1938, Muskingum Valley Farm Bureau Electric Cooperative, Inc. changed its name to Tuscarawas-Coshocton Electric Cooperative, Inc. In October of that same year, the co-op moved from its original location (shared with the Farm Bureau at 133 South Third Street, Coshocton) to 233 Main Street, Coshocton until 1948. At that time, the co-op was moved again to 659 Walnut Street, Coshocton. In October of 1957, the Tuscarawas-Coshocton Electric Cooperative, Inc. moved to its present location of 770 South Second Street, Coshocton. One final change was made on February 2, 1965, and that was to change the name to The Frontier Power Company.
Since the original co-op was formed, only four gentlemen have managed The Frontier Power Company. Lewis E. Buehler was the original manager, serving until 1955. The second manager, Owen D. Manning, held the position from 1955 to 1982. At that time, Joseph J. Uher, Jr. was assigned managerial responsibilities. In 1992, the current manager, Steven K. Nelson of Coshocton was appointed the manager’s position.
As you can see, The Frontier Power Company has gone through many changes over the years, but the founding concepts are still the same. The Frontier Power Company is still member-owned, with each member of the cooperative having the right to vote for their Board of Directors. Any profits over and above the cost of bringing electricity to you are returned to you, the member, in the form of capital credits. The Frontier Power Company now serves over 9,000 accounts bringing electricity with efficient service to the rural areas of the seven counties it serves.