Osceola Electric Cooperative was established in 1938 as a not for profit electric cooperative, owned and controlled by the members of the Cooperative. The incorporators and the first board of directors were Henry Consoer, Horton Township; Anton J. Gacke, West Holman Township; David L. Dykstra, Wilson Township; Jacob J. Onken, Viola Township; and Ralph Wright, Harrison Township.
In June of 1939, William Roberts was hired as Superintendent. He later became the Cooperative’s first Manager and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1965. The first construction contract was let to Acme Construction Company of St. Paul, Minnesota for the construction of a substation near Sibley and 191 miles of rural line. Work on the project began in September and was completed by December. By Christmas of 1939, 70 families were receiving electric service from the Cooperative.
Power to serve the Cooperative was initially purchased from the City of Sibley and as more and more people wanted to receive electric service, lines were added to accommodate the growth. By 1949, 1,000 families were receiving electric service. In 1951 a second substation was added near Ocheyedan. In the mid 1960’s the Ocheyedan substation was abandoned and replaced with one near Allendorf. Additionally, a third substation was constructed north of May City.
In the early 1950’s it became evident that the Sibley power plant would no longer be sufficient. Power plants were scheduled to be constructed on the Missouri River and in order to receive power from those plants 12 electric cooperatives in northwest Iowa came together to form a generation & transmission cooperative known as the Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative (NIPCO). However, Lyon Rural Electric Cooperative and Osceola Electric Cooperative ended up leaving the NIPCO group and formed a separate generation & transmission cooperative, the L & O Power Cooperative so that the two cooperatives could receive “river power” sooner.
By 1961 U.S. Secretary of the Interior Fred A. Seaton revealed that federal hydro power would only be able to meet firm power requirements through 1965. At that time Basin Electric Power Cooperative was formed in Bismarck, North Dakota to meet the need for more generation. By 1966, Osceola Electric Cooperative was receiving “river power” and power from Basin Electric Power Cooperative through the L & O Power Cooperative lines.
Today the Cooperative has 400 miles of overhead line and 100 miles of underground conductor serving 1,200 accounts. Most members are located in Osceola County but others are served in Dickinson, Lyon, and O’Brien Counties. The Cooperative continues to purchase power from L & O Power Cooperative and it offers members some of the lowest electric rates in the United States.