Less than one percent of rural Mississippians have electricity. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt creates the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) by Executive Order.
Congress passes the Rural Electrification Act, which provides low-cost loans to fund the electric power infrastructure in rural America.
1936 – The Mississippi legislature enacts the Electric Power Association Act to help foster the development of rural electrification in the state.
April 4, 1941
South Mississippi Electric (SME) was organized by Coast Electric, Jones County Electric (now Dixie Electric), East Mississippi Electric, Magnolia Electric, Pearl River Valley Electric, Singing River Electric, and Southern Pine Electric in a meeting held in the Forrest Hotel in Hattiesburg, Miss.
April 8, 1941
SME receives official Charter of Incorporation from the Secretary of State.
The REA approves a $2.1 million loan for SME to construct a power plant fired by pine wood chips on the Pearl River in Columbia, Miss.
December 7, 1941
Pearl Harbor is bombed and the U.S. enters World War II. All non-war construction ceases, including construction of SME’s first plant.
Southwest Mississippi Electric joins SME.
The organization appoints J.T. Dudley, Sr. as part-time general manager.
SME applies for its first Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity in order to construct its first power plant. New plans are to build a natural gas-fired plant in Jones County, Miss.
The Mississippi Public Service Commission issued to SME its first Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. This allows SME to construct its own generation assets.
Mississippi Power Company and Mississippi Power and Light oppose SME’s ownership of generation assets. A lengthy court battle ensues between SME and the investor-owned utilities (IOUs).
August 29, 1967
The REA releases funds to SME for the construction of the organization’s first baseload plant.
September 14, 1967
SME opens the first headquarters location in the Humble Oil Building in Hattiesburg, Miss.
J.T. Dudley, Sr. completes his part-time role with SME. George B. Taylor, Sr. is named the organization’s first full-time general manager. SME hires its first employees.
The U.S. Supreme Court refuses the requests of the IOUs to rehear or reverse the case, clearing the way for SME to build and own generation assets. SME WINS!
Benndale Station, a natural gas-fired 16.2 MW unit, is constructed in George County, Miss.
August 1, 1970
Plant Moselle begins commercial operation in Moselle, Miss. The plant boasts three 59 MW, natural gas-fired generators.
SME owns 730 miles of right of way and serves 100,000 members in 18 counties through 52 member substations. Member systems include: Dixie Electric, Magnolia Electric, Pearl River Valley Electric, Singing River Electric, Southern Pine Electric and Southwest Mississippi Electric.
Paulding Station is constructed in Jasper County, Miss. The diesel-fired unit generates 20.6 MW.
SME’s headquarters operations moves to its current location on Highway 49 in Hattiesburg, Miss.
SME is awarded a $168 million REA loan for the construction of a coal-fired plant in Lamar County, Miss. SME purchases 17,000 acres in Kentucky for the plant’s fuel supply.
Construction of the Control Center is completed at Headquarters.
The R.D. Morrow, Sr. Generating Station begins commercial operation in Purvis, Miss. The plant houses two 200 MW units fired by Appalachian coal.
Coast Electric rejoins SME as a Member system.
April 16, 1980
SME agrees to 10 percent ownership of Grand Gulf Nuclear Station, the only nuclear plant to be constructed in the state.
September 24, 1980
Coahoma Electric, Delta Electric, Twin County Electric and Yazoo Valley Electric join SME. SME now serves Mississippians from the Coast to the Delta.
Grand Gulf Nuclear Station becomes commercially operational in Port Gibson, Miss. The one unit nuclear facility produces a total capacity of 1,250 MW. SME’s capacity is 125 MW.
George B. Taylor, Sr. retires. Henry Thomas is named SME’s second full-time general manager.
Unit 4 is constructed at Plant Moselle.
August 20, 2003
Plant Moselle is dedicated to J.T. Dudley, Sr. and renamed the J.T. Dudley, Sr. Generation Complex.
Sylvarena Station is constructed in Smith County, Miss. The site boasts three natural gas-fired units producing a total capacity of 141 MW.
George B. Taylor, Sr. Generating Station is constructed in Jefferson Davis County, Miss. The site’s three units generate 250 MW fueled by natural gas.
Henry Thomas retires. James Compton is named SME’s third full-time general manager.
August 29, 2005
Hurricane Katrina strikes Mississippi and wreaks havoc on the SME system.
September 7, 2005
Service is restored to all Member substations a mere nine days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall.
Unit 5 is constructed at Plant Moselle.
The Field Operations Center is completed five miles north of Headquarters and dedicated in honor of Henry Thomas.
SME becomes a charter member of the National Renewables Cooperative Organization.
Headquarters Control Center moves from its original location to the John Carley Operations Center.
SME’s annual sales exceed 10 million MWh for the first time.
April 1, 2011
SME assumed generation responsibilities for thirteen Member delivery points in the MPC transmission area totaling approximately 150MW of load.
October 15, 2012
The Moselle Repower Project enhanced the existing generation resources at the J.T. Dudley, Sr. Generation Complex (Plant Moselle), improving the efficiency of two of the plant’s original three 59 MW steam units by 35 percent while adding approximately 160 MW of new capacity.
The Batesville Generating Station is purchased in Panola County, Miss. The natural-gas fired facility houses three units capable of producing a total of 837 MW.
December 18, 2013
SME integrates into MISO, a regional transmission organization.
Five 100 kW solar sites are constructed at Member systems across the state.
2016 – Legislation is passed to revise the Electric Power Association Act to recognize generation and transmission cooperatives such as SME.
SME celebrates its 75th Anniversary.
Nov 9, 2016
SME changes its name to Cooperative Energy to reflect its growing service to the state of Mississippi.