In the late 1940s and early 1950s, most rural people in North Dakota and the rest of the country lived without electricity. Power companies were convinced that they couldn't make money by serving the rural countryside, so they declined to run power lines out to the country.
All across the country, including in North Dakota, rural people were banding together to help themselves by forming electric cooperatives. With the help of government loans through the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), electric cooperatives helped light the countryside. Two such cooperatives, RSR Electric Cooperative and James Valley Electric Cooperative, were among them.
The consolidation of RSR Electric Cooperative (Milnor) and James Valley Electric Cooperative (Edgeley) was approved in June, 1999. Both cooperatives operated as separate entities until the end of the year. In January, 2000, Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative was born.
Dakota Valley members provide input into the operation and management of the cooperative through a nine-member board of directors that are elected to three-year terms.
While the number of members it serves is small, geographically, Dakota Valley is among the largest electric cooperatives in the state. It serves about 6,000 consumers in an area extending from just south of Jamestown to the South Dakota border; and from the Minnesota border extending west nearly to Ashley, N.D.
In June 2005, Dakota Valley Electric's board of directors entered into management and workforce alliance with a neighboring electric cooperative - Northern Plains Electric Cooperative. The business alliance, Cooperative Alliance Management, LLC, allows the structure and identity of each cooperative to remain in place, but enables each in finding savings without any decrease in services to the membership.
On its 4,600 miles of line, Dakota Valley distributes electricity supplied by Basin Electric Power Cooperative and Western Area Power Administration. It is a member of the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and is a member of the Touchstone Energy alliance of electric cooperatives.
Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative, like its predecessors, is dedicated to providing a reliable, affordable source of energy for its members.