In 1940 concerned citizens and farmers met to discuss ways and means of providing electricity to the rural of sections of Monroe, Blount and Loudon Counties. Initially, the Loudon County Electric Membership Corporation was formed. In August of 1940 the Board of Directors approved the Articles of conversion and the Loudon County Electric Membership Corporation became Fort Loudoun Electric Cooperative, with its main office in Vonore, TN. Operations of the cooperative began on September 1, 1940.
In the middle 1930's nine out of ten rural farms were without electric service. Power companies served most of the cities and some farms close to the cities. Property along the main highway had electricity, but most farms could not afford it. Rural customers were required to pay for connecting electricity and the price ranged from $2,000 to $3,000 per mile of line. In addition to the connection fee, the cost for kWh ranged from ten to twelve cents per kWh. In some places the cost was as high as twenty five to forty cents per kWh. There were very few rural families who could afford this in the years when wheat sold eighty cents a bushel and the gross farm income averaged $1,800 a year.
The creation of the Rural Utilities Service (an agency of USDA) made possible the formation of FLEC and similar electric co-ops throughout the United States. RUS funds have been loaned to FLEC to extend electric service to its consumer-members. The establishment of TVA in 1933 in our region made low-cost electricity available to FLEC and other power distributors in this area.
Fort Loudoun Electric Cooperative serves portions of a three-county area including Blount, Loudon, and Monroe counties. The cooperative is a private, non-profit organization; owned by the members it serves. The service area is divided into eight districts and a director is elected from each district every three years. The cooperative's main office is located in Vonore.
Fort Loudoun Electric Cooperative has grown far beyond the most optimistic early planning. Currently FLEC serves approximately 32,000 customers with over 2,700 miles of distribution lines. FLEC is growing with the area and as a result it has become a thriving, dynamic organization and a very vital part of the communities in the area served.