President Roosevelt orders rural electrification
President Franklin Roosevelt signed an executive order to electrify rural areas. This order not only provided rural electrification, it also provided jobs for Americans who desperately needed them during the depression.
REA becomes permanent
Congress approved the Rural Electrification Act and Roosevelt signed the legislation, making the Rural Electrification Administration a permanent federal agency. This Act allowed REA to receive funding and in turn offer low interest loans to rural residents who created electric cooperatives and brought power to rural America.
Jones County EPA receives REA loan
Jones County Electric Power Association received one such REA loan. Seven months later, Jones County EPA began offering electric service to rural areas of Jones County, as well as surrounding areas.
700 Members served
Jones County EPA served 700 members along 230 miles of power line.
Dixie EPA was located on Ellisville Boulevard in Laurel. Two employees operated the office while General Manager Stover Smith answered service calls, along with Serviceman Lenard Breazeale. These employees not only built lines for the rural areas, they also taught rural residents how to benefit from this new-found power source.
Dixie EPA expands
Dixie moved from Ellisville Boulevard to a wooden office building at 317 South Magnolia Street in Laurel. Dixie Electric purchased the property from Alfred McRae.
After building a new brick facility, Dixie rented the wooden office building to Dr. Earl McRae. After Dr. McRae moved out, Dixie moved its linemen and engineering departments into the building. From 1949 to 1970, Dixie Electric’s headquarters operated from this location. The offices were expanded several times to accommodate the growing number of employees.
Jones County EPA becomes Dixie EPA
Jones County EPA changed its name to Dixie Electric Power Association include Wayne County and parts of other neighboring counties. By 1950, the Association grew to 1,735 members and encompassed more than 700 miles of line.
Waynesboro branch opens
Dixie Electric opened its first branch office on Highway 84 in Waynesboro.
Petal branch opens
Dixie Electric opened another branch office at 101 West Eighth Avenue in Petal. While at the South Magnolia location Stover Smith retired, and in 1964, Ora Beasley became General Manager.
Dixie Electric moved to its present location on Highway 184.
James T. Dudley, Jr. is named General Manager
Dixie Electric partners with a Central Area Data Process for software applications in the areas of billing, service orders, work orders and accounting. CADP later expanded and changed it name to National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC). This is the current enterprise computer system used by Dixie Electric.
Petal branch expands
A new building was built for the Petal branch office on Highway 42 in Petal.
Waynesboro branch moves
The Waynesboro branch office relocated next door from their old office on Azalea Drive. The former bank building was purchased and renovated to better accommodate the needs of the members in Wayne County.
Hurricane Katrina devastated Dixie Electric’s service territory, knocking down trees and lines. All of Dixie Electric’s members were without electric power. Restoration took three weeks.
James T. Dudley, Jr. retires
James T. Dudley, Jr. retires and Alan Bradley, long-time engineering manager, is named the new General Manager.
James T. Dudley, Jr. returns
James T. Dudley, Jr. returns to serve as Interim General Manager.
Randy Smith becomes General Manager
Randy Smith is selected as the General Manager and James T. Dudley, Jr. retires.
Dixie Electric forms DE Fastlink
The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light the need for rural broadband. Electric Cooperatives were called upon to help bridge the digital divide, and Dixie Electric members voted in October 2020 to amend the Articles of Incorporation to allow Dixie Electric to provide fiber to its members. DE Fastlink was formed shortly thereafter, and the first fiber subscriber was connected in Dec. 2020.