Verendrye Electric Cooperative is a child of a Depression-era program conceived by President Franklin Roosevelt -- the 1935 Rural Electrification Act. FDR was determined to light up rural America after the investor owned utilities declined, saying they could not make a profit in the country.
Incorporated in January 1939 in a tiny town called Verendrye, VEC held its first annual meeting in September of that year and by June 1940 delivered power to 35 families. The co-op moved to Velva in 1941.
From that humble beginning, Verendrye has grown to serve over 14,000 meters in the six counties surrounding Minot, a 4,000 square mile area requiring 60,000 poles and 4,900 miles of line to do the job. We have 62 employees dedicated to serve our member/owners.
Verendrye directors, managers and employees have long been leaders in developing the area. For example, Verendrye helped organize Souris River Telephone in 1951 and North Prairie Rural Water in 1971. We helped form Central Power Electric Co-op in 1949, after which VEC promoted the construction of the Neil Power Plant near Velva, the first central station lignite coal fired plant in North Dakota. Verendrye also helped organize Basin Electric Power Cooperative, now our chief source of energy.
With General Manager Bruce Carlson's leadership, Verendrye is seen as an innovative electric cooperative, often on the cutting edge of industry technology. Everett Dobrinski of Makoti has provided strong leadership as board chairman. He also serves as chairman of the board of Co-Bank, headquartered in Denver.
Verendrye continues to dedicate its collective energy to providing reliable service at a reasonable price while working to improve the quality of life in our service area and beyond. This VEC tradition has served our communities well for over 70 years.
Watch this brief video for more about the electric cooperative story: