Choctawhatchee Electric Cooperative, Inc., (CHELCO) is a not-for-profit electric distribution cooperative employing more than 160 people and serving more than 56,000 accounts in Walton, Okaloosa, Holmes and Santa Rosa counties in the panhandle of Florida.
The cooperative owns and maintains over 4,100 miles of line including those on Eglin Air Force Base.
We have six area offices including our headquarters in DeFuniak Springs.
Although most cities had electricity by the mid-1930s, rural Americans were still in the dark. The high cost of building electric distribution lines to serve sparsely populated rural areas was thought to be unprofitable.
Then in 1940, with the support of the federal Rural Electrification Administration's oversight and low-interest loans, the people of northwest Florida decided to band together to form CHELCO a member-owned, not-for-profit electricity distribution cooperative.
Later that same year, CHELCO members met with 10 other electric cooperatives and formed Alabama Electric Cooperative (now PowerSouth Energy Cooperative), a generation and transmission cooperative established to generate the electricity needed by its member co-ops.
Membership, in 1940 and today, costs $5.00.