In October of 1936, the charter was received, and shortly thereafter, the fledgling cooperative applied to the Rural Electrification Administration for a loan in the amount of $290,000 to begin construction of electric lines. The first construction contract was awarded in January, 1937.
Southwest soon purchased the West Tennessee Power and Light Company, which added 125 miles of line and 1,280 customers. This purchase included Mason, Stanton, Munford, Atoka, Brighton, Covington, Gallaway, Whiteville, Mercer, Pinson and Henderson.
Growth was steady until World War II, during which time all materials were in short supply, as was the labor supply. However, growth accelerated rapidly after the war’s end, and has continued at an almost steady pace to the current time.
Below is a map of the 5 Districts in the STEMC service area, which touches parts of 11 West Tennessee Counties.