Dixie Power History
Dixie Power is an electric cooperative providing electric utility services to approximately 15,000, members in Southern Utah and Northern Arizona. Dixie Power is headquartered in Beryl, north of St. George, but also has an office in Bloomington. The mission of Dixie Power is to endorse cooperative core values of integrity, accountability, innovation and commitment to community, to provide our members with safe, reliable, affordable and equitable energy and related services empowering the members and the communities we serve to succeed and thrive in a volatile economic environment.
HISTORY OF DIXIE POWER
Dixie Escalante Rural Electric Association, now doing business as Dixie Power, was formed when three separate rural electric cooperatives, Escalante Valley Electric Association, Inc., Littlefield Electric Cooperative, Inc. and Dixie Rural Electric Association, merged into one strong entity.
Escalante Valley Electric Association, Inc.
After Southern Utah Power Company declined to serve Escalante Valley in the 1940’s because it was not financially feasible, Parley Moyle, and his son, Gordon, began soliciting support from area residents to organize an electric cooperative. These residents applied for federal funds and organized the Escalante Valley Electric Association, Inc. in 1946. Gordon Moyle became the Association’s first General Manager. R. Leon Bowler was hired in 1950 as a lineman for Escalante Valley Electric Association and became the General Manager at age 23.
Littlefield Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Rumell, Louis and Afton Reber and Clifford Peterson organized the Littlefield Electric Cooperative, Inc. in 1946. The organization of this cooperative began in 1940 when a power line was constructed to Mesquite and Bunkerville, Nevada, from Hoover Dam. This line was extended from Mesquite to Beaver Dam and Littlefield at the same time. However, interstate problems kept the power supply from reaching into northern Arizona communities. Finally, through a trade with Arizona Power Authority, the Nevada Colorado River Commission directed Overton Power District to furnish power to Littlefield. Littlefield officially received power in March of 1952. Littlefield Electric Cooperative, Inc. was maintained by volunteer labor by Rumell and Afton Reber until the early 1970’s. Finally, residents signed a petition agreeing to have Littlefield merge with Dixie Rural Electric Association in 1974.
Dixie Rural Electric Association
Dixie REA was organized in 1946 because St. George City Power and Southern Utah Power Company declined to serve homes and farms in the St. George and Washington Fields area. Evan Woodbury headed up the organization of Dixie REA which operated independently for about 25 years until it merged with Littlefield REA in 1974. In 1978 the two merged with Escalante Valley REA. R. Leon Bowler, who had been serving as General Manager of both Escalante Valley REA and Dixie REA, assumed the reins of General Manager of Dixie Escalante Rural Electric Association in 1978 after the merger. Under Bowler’s leadership, membership in the cooperative had grown to 10,000. The combined service territory of the three merged REAs included Newcastle, Beryl, Modena, Pine Valley, Bloomington, Bloomington Hills, and Washington Fields, in Utah and Littlefield, Arizona.
During the late sixties the Utah Public Service Commission issued certificated areas of operations. This agenda was supported by the investor owned utility operating in the area. The I.O.U. had lower power rates at the time and attempted to expand their operating territory by acquiring one certificated area after another using rate differential as a lure. R. Leon Bowler resisted the invitations to sell out the cooperative and declined the sweetheart job offers offered by the I.O.U. Bowler’s actions over time proved to be in the best interests of the cooperative members. Today there is not a better picture of a utility so well supported by its constituency anywhere in the West.
Dixie Power has been instrumental in converting several square miles of rural area into a number of new subdivisions in the Bloomington/Bloomington Hills and Washington Fields area.
In 1996, Dixie Power paid off all of its outstanding loans with the Rural Electric Administration and became fully privately funded with the Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC). This independent financing source has allowed Dixie Power a great amount of flexibility to more fully serve its customers and help the community. Dixie Power has been a participant in funding infrastructure for industrial and commercial business development as well as assisting local area contractors in the development of several subdivisions.
On April 1, 2008, R. Leon Bowler, long time manager of Dixie Power retired after 55 years in the electrical industry. He steered the company successfully through the years forming a large multimillion dollar utility. Leon successfully kept Dixie Power rates low and leaves a legacy of superb management skills in the rural electric industry.
The management reins were passed to LaDel Laub, who served as Assistant General Manager for years prior to becoming General Manager in 2008. In 2009, the title of General Manager was changed to President / CEO. Mr. Laub is a graduate of Enterprise High School, Dixie State College and Southern Utah University, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with an Accounting minor.
Mr. Laub continues to work on keeping rates low in a down economy. He asked for consumer/owners to participate in a grassroots effort to educate Senators on the impact of potential legislation regarding the Carbon Tax/Cap and Trade legislation. He trimmed the 2009 and 2010 expenditures to achieve small margins, to keep rates at the same historically low level.
In 2009, Mr. Laub recommended to the Board of Directors to change the Annual Meeting to three meetings, allowing consumers/members to conveniently attend the Annual Meeting in their district. With the approved change, the membership attendance almost doubled. The Arizona District met in Beaver Dam, Arizona, The Escalante Valley & Pine Valley Districts, met in Pine Valley, and the Dixie Districts meeting was in St. George.