C & L Electric is owned by its Members
C & L Electric Cooperative Corporation is a non-profit business organized in 1937 by people in Cleveland and Lincoln Counties who wanted electricity and could not get it from power companies who said there was no profit from lines in sparsely populated areas.
The new business was incorporated on August 16, 1938, as C & L (Cleveland & Lincoln) Electric Cooperative Corporation. A request for a loan to build a line of 90 miles with 350 signatures was first sent to Rural Electrification Administration (REA). The directors were notified that 100 miles of line would be required for approval. So they extended the line into Jefferson and Grant Counties. REA approved the new plan –having 161 miles of line and 437 signatures.
The first section of line was energized December 19, 1939.
At the end of the first year, C & L was serving 370 members, who used an average of 39 kWh and paid 7.9¢ per kWh.
The Pace Act of 1944 made a covenant with C & L that if it would extend area coverage in its allocated territory, they could get loans for a 35-year period at 2% interest.
C & L expanded rapidly after this, and soon, C & L's lines went into eight counties; Cleveland, Lincoln, Grant, Jefferson, Bradley, Drew, Desha and Dallas.
In 1955, electric cooperatives in Arkansas were given legal right by legislation to generate electricity. C & L and other cooperatives in Arkansas organized Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC), a cooperative which now provides all of C & L's electricity at wholesale cost.
Today, C & L serves over 22,192 members and owns and maintains over 4,385 miles of distribution power lines and 14 substations. Gregory S. Smith currently serves as General Manager/CEO.