Palmetto Electric Cooperative was formed in 1940 by enterprising rural residents in response to the refusal by investor-owned utilities to serve rural areas. Within two years, the co-op delivered electricity to rural Hampton County and, shortly thereafter, to rural Jasper County. In 1950, lines to Hilton Head were electrified, setting the stage for the island’s rapid growth.
Over the years, Palmetto Electric has purchased electricity from several sources to meet the growing needs of its members. In 1949, it began buying electricity generated by Santee Cooper from Central Electric Power Cooperative. Central, which today represents 20 electric cooperatives from Oconee County to the coast, purchases electricity at reasonable rates for its member cooperatives.
Our customers are also our owners. They have a voice in how the cooperative is operated. Our governing body, the Board of Directors, is composed of members who are elected by other members.
Our programs reflect a spirit of cooperation forged through more than half a century of partnership with our members. It is a way of doing business that sets us apart from other utilities and it is the foundation for our continued growth and success.
For 80 years, the co-op has been meeting the needs of its members by implementing new technology and developing consumer-oriented programs. Palmetto Electric began its partnership in 1998 with Touchstone Energy, a network of 746 cooperatives in 46 states serving more than 16 million customers every day. Through that partnership, we reinvigorated our focus on the core values of accountability, community involvement, innovation and integrity that guide our decision-making and strategic planning.
Today, the cooperative offers several innovative programs that reduce rates, simplify billing, enhance the safety and convenience of electricity, and fund community services to over 74,000 customers in Beaufort, Jasper, and Hampton counties.