Why is There an REA?

The REA in Columbia REA stands for Rural Electric Association. Here’s some interesting history to help explain.

  • In the Mid-1930s, 90% of rural homes had no electric service.
  • On May 11, 1935, President Roosevelt established the Rural Electrification Administration.
  • By 1949, rural electric systems had doubled, consumers more than tripled, and miles of line grew more than five-fold.
  • By 1953, 90% of U.S. farms had electricity.

It’s a great American success story, and today it’s hard to think that a Walla Walla County neighbor might not have electricity, but that was the reality in the 30’s. Those days are behind us. Now the more pressing challenges are how to keep our usage down, save resources and keep our electric bills as low as possible. This time of year, our heaters can be responsible for more than 50 percent of our bill, and in some circumstances much more!

One great way to save money with your heating is with a smart thermostat. A smart thermostat can learn your habits, so you are warm when its cold outside and cool when its hot, but you are not wasting electricity. A great feature is the ability to detect when you are away and automatically adjust the temperature in your home. If you are heating with electricity, we may be able to help you with a smart thermostat at no charge. To see if you qualify, please go to our Free Google Nest page and fill out the application.

Can you feel air coming through your windows or around your doors? You should employ some temporary methods of blocking it off now. Keeping the cold out saves electricity. For a more permanent fix to seal those problem areas, consider replacing the weatherstrip, upgrading the doors and windows, and perhaps adding more insulation and sealing. We have some great rebates to help with most of these upgrades. Local insulation contractors can be a great resource.

Has your attic insulation settled? This “blanket” for your home, if thinned out, literally allows the heat to go out the roof. This is a job some might take on as a DIY, but it also can be a quick fix for a contractor to increase your insulation by double or triple. If you are thinking about doing it yourself, make sure you learn how to do it right! If done wrong, it can lead to other problems. Check our rebate forms to make sure you document your progress and get the maximum benefits.

Let us know what we can do to help. Please see our webpage for more tips and rebates at our Rebate Offers page.


If you have a question about energy efficiency, please email Charlie, or call (509) 526-4041.