The idea of bringing electricity to the rural areas of Johnson and Sheridan counties in Wyoming was launched in October 1944.
Paperwork was filed and the new members paid $5 each to join. In June 1945, the first REA loan was secured to build 200 miles of power line to serve 356 consumers. Setting poles was still two years away as much more paperwork, filings, designs, and other procurements needed to be completed.
On July 25, 1947, a formal dedication ceremony was held east of the grain elevators north of Sheridan. This is where the first pole was set. Shortly thereafter S-J REA expanded to Kaycee, Clearmont, Arvada, and Sussex. Areas of Montana north of Sheridan were also acquired in 1948.
For the first decade, S-J REA struggled to achieve the power demand from its members. However, oil field developments in the Ash Creek area provided the needed loads to assist in the finances.
The cooperative continued to add larger substations, transmission, and distribution lines as the loads continued to increase in the energy industry. During the history of S-J REA, neighbors at Tri-County Electric were in regular discussions about ways to cooperate and maximize efficiencies.