What is this thing we call electricity?

By Dan Hoskins (General Manager, undisclosed cooperative)

You may not know knowledge of electricity goes back as far as 900 BC when Magnus, a Greek shepherd, walked across a field of black stones that pulled the iron nails out of his sandals and the iron tip form his shepherd’s staff (authenticity no guaranteed, of course). Then, in 600 BC, Thales of Miletos rubbed amber (electron ins Greek) with cat fur and picked up bits of feathers. Did you know that in 1752, Benjamin Franklin proved that lightning and the spark form amber was one and the same thing? How about in 1831 When Michael Faraday found electricity could be produced through magnetism by motion? Or in 1878, when Joseph Swan, a British scientist, invented the incandescent filament lamp, and within 12 months Thomas Edison made a similar discovery in America?

Then, many years later, on May 11, 1935, in Washington, D.C., President Franklin Roosevelt issued the executive order establishing the REA (Rural Electrification Administration). This was the beginning of the electrification of our rural areas, the beginning of our rural electric cooperatives and the beginning of an adventure!

Ah yes, electricity, it has the strength to move mountains, yet the softness to light up the smallest LED light. It can kill anything at the touch, but can also be used to save. We use it for many and all reasons. Our education system uses it for learning, teaching, academics and athletics. The medical field uses it for medicine, for healing, for sickness and for health. They use it for examinations, prognosis and diagnosis, and to help find cures.

The scientific world used it to smash atoms, to send men to the moon, and to study the universe and beyond. They use it for research and development and they even use it to study it! They use it to study what was, what is and what could possibly be. Our military uses it for training, survival and security. It is used for wars and our freedom! Our communications have gone from two soup cans and a string to telegraph, telephones to cell phones, text messages to emails, video conferences to web conferences, and landlines to wireless or satellite. What used to take days to communicate is now in an instant.

Our people used it to build a nation of industry, manufacturing, health and happiness. We built roads, bridges, buildings, businesses and skyscrapers. Our many cities house some of the most advanced technology this current world has ever seen. Our people use it for heat, lights, luxury, necessities, strength, hope survival, love, laughter and sorrow.

Our state and federal government uses it for many things such as control, decision-making, creation of laws and taxes. It has brought them the power they have, the ability to choose and the reason they are there. But, have they forgotten all that electricity has done?

 Ladies and gentlemen, think about what we have gained in the last 100 plus years because of electricity. Then think about what we have lost in the last 20 years because of the subsidies of a lesser electrical supply while our firm dependable energy sources struggle under the weight of State and Federal rules, regulations, controls and taxes, which create higher costs for the people of our land to pay. So high that we have to choose what we want, food or heat? We have to close our businesses because of high costs and move our industries to other countries because they see the value of electricity and the rewards of growth. And then ask the question, why would anyone want to destroy the only one thing that has given the American people, as well as the people of the world, the ability to do anything?

I have been lucky enough to have been associated with the electric industry for more than 30 years, and my affiliation has been with rural electric cooperatives. I have talked with people wanting new electric service and see n the excitement in their eyes. I have climbed poles to restore outages in the bitter cold of night and heard the children holler with joy when the lights came back on and the heat kicked in. I have talked with hundreds and hundreds of member-owners about many things, from right-of-way easements to pole moves, from damage claims to security lights, and from power bill discussion to most recently, the rising cost of electricity.

 Yes folks, electricity has been around for a long time and this country has done some marvelous things with it, but I bet one thing; all those men who I mentioned in the previous paragraphs would have never, ever, thought that the current people of power would turn this great commodity against us. Well Mr. Roosevelt, your adventure has turned into survival!!

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