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History of TREC

Cooperative Formed to Make Rural Life Better

The articles of incorporation of Three Rivers Electric Cooperative were signed February 22, 1939 by 12 men who wanted everyone in the central Missouri area to be able to have electricity. The incorporators visited with friends and neighbors to explain what was needed to set up a rural electric cooperative. The membership fee at that time - during the height of the depression - was $5.00.

The Cooperative was named for the three rivers that cross its service territory: Gasconade, Maries and Osage.  This is also how the three districts are divided.

In April of 1940, the first pole on the Cooperative's system was set at Lone Star School south of Linn. The Oklahoma Church of Christ, which is located near Hope in Osage County, has the distinction of being the first building energized on the Cooperative's system. It was energized on July 20, 1940.

Since those early days, the Cooperative has seen tremendous growth. Currently, there are 21,544 connected meters, 3,984 miles of energized line and 5.41 connected meters per mile of line.*

Throughout the years, the Cooperative's vision statement has remained the same - to provide the best possible service at rates consistent with sound business practices. We will invest in technology to improve reliability, operations, and efficiency.

The member-owners of Three Rivers Electric Cooperative and other cooperatives across the United States reap the benefits of what they learned about cooperation by following the seven cooperative principles. These principles were first established in 1844 by a small band of weavers in Rochdale, England, who were tired of falling victim to powerful factory owners. The Rochdale Principles became basic guidelines for cooperatives of every type.

Tom Werdenhause has been the general manager of Three Rivers Electric Cooperative since 2006.  He is the fourth general manager in the history of the Cooperative. 

Previous general managers are:

  • Walter R. Ryan -- 1990 - 2006
  • Gilbert G. Hilkemeyer -- 1965 - 1990
  • Steve A. Schauwecker -- 1939 - 1965


*These figures are as of December 31, 2011.