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About Yampa Valley Electric Association

In 1940, the rural residents of Northwest Colorado were offered the chance to get full-time electric power wired directly into their homes. No longer would they have to burn kerosene lamps, charge batteries with makeshift generators or struggle to keep perishable goods under refrigeration.

In 1940, County Agent Edson Bar proceeded to generate interest in a special deal being offered by the Rural Electric Administration (REA). The County Agent was authorized by REA to appoint his board of directors. On July 13, 1940, the first meeting of the Yampa Valley Electric Association was held in the Routt County Courthouse. The 10 member board was given the mandate to embark on a door-to-door, ranch-to-ranch drive for members. The first REA loan was approved on Nov. 25, 1940. YVEA continues the same tradition today that was started in 1940, that of a consumer-owned electric cooperative.

As important as the new cooperative was to the area, the energizing of its first line on Dec. 6, 1941 was overshadowed by the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the entry of the U.S. into WWII. Still, in the presence of so much impending sorrow, it was a time of great joy and it was a time for firsts:

  • The first pole was set near the R.R. Hudspeth ranch.
  • The first meter was installed on the Perry Clark ranch on Elk River.
  • The first member to use 100 kilowatt-hours was E.C. Arnold.
  • The first member to pay his electric bill was John Cheek.
  • The first annual meeting for members was Feb. 7, 1942.
  • The first general manger was Cliff Hanson, since then, there have been Manford Lee (42-51) L.G. Stucky (51-62), James A. Golden (62-94) Larry Covillo (94-2013) and the current General Manager Diane Johnson.
  • There have been 59 Board members since inception.
  • In 1952, YVEA purchased Colorado Utilities Corp. and began to serve the communities of Craig, Hayden and Steamboat Springs, a merger of 3,553 new members.
  • In 1956, Governor Steve McNichols dedicated the opening of the YVEA office in Steamboat Springs.
  • In 1965, the coop purchased its first aerial bucket truck and in the same year installed the first underground conductor.
  • YVEA entered the computer age in 1971 and in 1979 purchased its first “in-house” computer.
  • In 1979, YVEA opened its newly built Craig office doors to the public.

Today, the Association serves nearly 26,300 meters over 2,840 miles of line. The association's service territory extends east to the continental divide, south to almost I-70, north into Wyoming about 10 miles, and west to within 25 miles of the Utah border. The 7,000 square mile service territory includes the communities of Baggs and Savery, Wyoming; Craig, Hayden, Steamboat Springs, and Yampa, Colorado; and surrounds, but does not include the town of Oak Creek, Colorado.

YVEA employs 60+- in four departments – Operations, Engineering, Consumer Accounts, and Finance/Human Resources. The member/owners elect nine individuals from the general membership to represent them as Board of Directors. Three Directors are elected each year on a rotating basis.

Yampa Valley Electric owns no generation facilities. It purchases power from the Western Area Power Administration (a federal power marketing agency) and Xcel Energy.

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