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1960’s in Review

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  • In May 1960, there was a ground breaking for the new addition to the office building in East Montpelier.
  • In January 1960, the Co-op was involved in a Community Development Program.
  • On December 16-17, there was an open house to show off the new addition to the building as well as celebrate 21 years of service. Also, the new array of appliances for sale were on exhibit.
  • In 1960 the Cooperative’s system saw tremendous growth as indicated not only in kWhs bought and sold and kW of demand, but also in line construction and new constructions.  For example — new connections during the past year number over 230 compared to 166 for the previous year — an increase of 39%.  We have built approximately 17 1/2 miles of new transmission line, distribution line, and service line.  Total line mileage of entire system is now over 900 miles.
  • The 23rd Annual Meeting was the largest annual meeting in the Co-op’s history, with over 1,000 people attending.
  • In June 1962, manager Frank Sahlman left the co-op for Washington D.C. to assume new duties as  Director of International Cooperative Development. The Board appointed Co-op Line Superintendent Sailey Ennis as Acting Manager and later hired him as the Co-op’s General Manager, a position he held until 1977.
  • In 1963, the Co-op continued to work with R.E.A. to develop a program of Rural Area Development in several areas of the co-op’s system. The Co-op hired Richard Macombs to lead the R.A.D. effort. Loans were made available for the R.A.D. Project and Washington Electric Co-op was the conduit to administer these loans through Farmers Home Administration.
  • Duke and the Swingbillies entertained members at the 1962 Annual Meeting.  Organized in 1938, the Swingbillies entertained thousands of people and performed over Mt. Washington TV.  Also with the gang were Pete Ross, one of the top North Country accordionists, and lead vocalist Rusty Wellington, who recorded for MGM and Arcade Records.
  • In November 1964 the Peace Corps created an encampment for training on the Fitch Farm in Calais, which is on the co-op line. They returned to Vershire in 1966.
  • In Vermont, as well as the nation, there was heated debate on REA’s role in the electric utility industry, and in 1967, Congress threw out the Supplemental Loan Program.
  • In December, 1965, the last rural home in the town of Peacham was electrified.  Friends of Mr. and Mrs. Wood of Ewells Mills in the town of Peacham were on hand to help them celebrate the replacement of kerosene lamps with modern electric bulbs.
  • In 1965, it was noted in the annual report that 77% of Co-op revenue came from the farm segment of the membership.
  • The Northeast Public Power Association (New England/New York) was formed in 1968.
  • Washington Electric Co-op began data processing systems for part of the operation.
  • In 1969, Washington Electric Co-op recognized the Adamant Music School located in the co-op region as a 26 year old entity.A sales tax of 3.0% was imposed on all expenses (even power). Later power was deducted from the assessment.
  • On July 24, 1968, the Co-op’s outdated Websterville Substation was retired and the new Jackson Corners substation plus 4.45 miles of transmission line from Graniteville to Jackson Corners were energized.  These new facilities improved service to over 800 members in Barre, Berlin, Northfield, Williamstown, Washington, Corinth, Roxbury, Brookfield, Chelsea, Vershire, Randolph and Tunbridge — nearly one quarter of the Co-op’s membership.