ERMCO and Horry Electric Co-op
Bill Reffert is CEO of ERMCO, the Electric Research and Manufacturing Cooperative, Inc. Pat Howle is CEO of Horry Electric Co-op and Kevin Jordan is an engineer at Horry Electric Co-op.
PUF's Steve Mitnick: Bill, tell us how ERMCO is a different kind of NRECA member.
Bill Reffert: ERMCO is a manufacturing cooperative. The initials stand for Electric Research and Manufacturing Cooperative. Unlike the generation or distribution cooperatives, we serve the utilities. Horry has been a good customer for a lot of years, longer than I have been there.
We are NRECA members. We offer NRECA benefits and though we're like them, we're not the same because we are a manufacturer. We pay patronage and capital credits as they do, from the sales we generate to them.
PUF: Your organization began operating in 1970. Why was it started?
Bill Reffert: The co-ops at the time were fearful that they wouldn't get served by the big manufacturers of the day. The states of Arkansas, Kentucky and Wisconsin met and decided to start their own company. That was the genesis of ERMCO. It was placed in Tennessee, probably because that was a neutral site.
Over the next decade or two, it changed hands a couple of times as fortunes ebbed and flowed, until the point when Arkansas became the sole owner, and still is today.
PUF: You have a pretty big operation.