In 1935, the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) was established by executive order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt for the purpose of lending money to cooperatives, commercial power companies, and others to build rural power lines. In 1936, Congress passed the Rural Electrification Act, which established the REA as an agency of the federal government. When the commercial power companies did not take advantage of the REA loans to build rural power lines, REA began to assist local member-owned electric cooperatives to organize and incorporate. Thus, March 8, 1939, Beauregard Electric Cooperative, Inc. was chartered under Louisiana Laws.
The Beauregard Electric Membership Corporation, with general headquarters in DeRidder, is a Louisiana Corporation organized in 1939 for the purpose of furnishing dependable electric service to the rural areas of Southwest and Central Louisiana. The cooperative is a non-profit, membership corporation – owned and controlled by the members which it serves.
BECi energized its first lines in 1940. Managing the fledgling member-owned utility was R.I. Davis. The average electric bill was $2.90 for 32 kWh or about nine cents a kWh. BECi's annual payroll was $750 and it had two service vehicles. In 2010, the average electric bill was $130.51 for 1,498 kWh or less than nine cents a kWh.
Today, BECi serves over 39,000 member-owners along 5,750 miles of power line. Remarkably, BECi is charging the same today for a kilowatt-hour of electricity as its first members paid 72 years ago. That's an achievement few other utilities or commercial operations can claim.