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History

Sioux Valley Energy’s history goes back to 1938.  Three electric cooperative groups were organized that year; the first was the Sioux Valley Electric Association of Brookings and the other two organizations were East Central South Dakota Electric Association and the Sioux Empire Electric Association.  All three had taken preliminary steps towards seeking a loan from the Rural Electric Administration (REA).  The three organizations held a joint meeting in December of 1939 and voted to merge together.  The new cooperative was named Sioux Valley Empire Electric Association, Inc.

The new Sioux Valley Electric served the area jointly covered by the founding groups, bringing electricity to rural people in Brookings, Lake, Moody, Minnehaha and a portion of Kingsbury County.  The cooperative’s office was located in the back room of the Dakota State Bank building in Colman, then moved across the street to a building that earlier had been a hardware store.  Efforts began to assure that Colman would be the permanent home of Sioux Valley Electric.  The old office facilities soon became overcrowded and a new building was constructed just a mile east of Colman.  Dedication ceremonies were held in 1955.

Sioux Valley Electric’s first line-pole went in the ground in eastern Moody County on May 17th, 1940 and by January 1941 there were a total of 748 members receiving electric service from the cooperative.  Line construction continued and by July of 1949, Sioux Valley Electric had 1,350 new members (with 3,800 already receiving service).  Sioux Valley Electric was the largest rural electric cooperative in South Dakota, a position it still holds.  In 1941, members paid an average of 7.3-cents per kWh.  Monthly bills were lower, of course, since the average member was using only 50 kWh a month.

In May of 1951, Humboldt became the first town to sign a franchise agreement with the rural electric cooperative to provide service to the community.  Today, Sioux Valley serves Brandon, Chester, Colton, Hartford, Humboldt, Junius, Lyons, Sinai and Valley Springs in South Dakota and Hardwick, Minnesota.

Talk of merging Sioux Valley Electric and Southwestern Minnesota Cooperative Electric (SMCE) which served rural areas in Rock and Pipestone counties in Minnesota began in April of 1995.  A merger feasibility study was completed and on June 21st, 1995 the boards of Sioux Valley and SMCE voted unanimously to recommend a merger.   Approval of that merger came on September 25th, 1995 at special membership meetings in Colman and Pipestone, Minnesota. Sioux Valley Electric and Southwestern Minnesota Co-op Electric (SMCE) joined forces to become Sioux Valley-Southwestern Electric Cooperative, Inc. effective January 1st, 1996 serving 17,000 members.

Sioux Valley-Southwestern Electric Cooperative, Inc. began doing business as “Sioux Valley Energy” in June of 2002.  The official name remains Sioux Valley-Southwestern Electric Cooperative, Inc.

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