Rural Electrification and Power Rates

December 4, 1934

Report Outline
Administration's Efforts to Extend Use of Electricity
Course of Rural Electrification in United States
Methods of Increasing Rural Use of Electricity
Current Attempts to Reduce Electricity Rates
Special Focus

Administration's Efforts to Extend Use of Electricity

Promotion of a greater use of electricity by present consumers and extension of its benefits to areas where this form of energy is not now available have been prime objectives of the Roosevelt administration from the outset. Cheap electric power was strenuously advocated by the President, in connection with the proposed St. Lawrence development, when he was Governor of New York. Since he has entered the White House, he has urged ratification of the St. Lawrence treaty, obtained congressional approval for inauguration of the great Tennessee Valley development, and supported the continuation or initiation of other large hydroelectric projects with public works funds. That the President intends to press with unremitting vigor for expansion of his power program was indicated on November 18, 1934, when he told the people of Tupelo, Mississippi, first city to use T. V. A. power, that “what you are doing hero is going to be copied in every state of the Union before we get through,” Public development of power projects selling energy at rates substantially below those charged by commercial companies has been encouraged by the President to provide “yardsticks” with which to measure and to force down existing rates. An exhaustive report on the cost of distributing electric power, prepared by the Power Authority of the State of New York and made public at the White House on November 12, held that rates only slightly more than half of the average now prevailing in that state were wan-anted, and contended that completion of the St. Lawrence project would bring to users of electricity in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New England an annual saving of $194,000,000, or 27 per cent of present charges. Realization of such savings in that area and in regions within the field of other projects would presumably result in greatly increased use of electricity.

Potential Market in Greater Rural Electrification

While this country uses more electric power, in the aggregate, than any other country, it lags far behind various European nations in utilization of electricity on farms. Whereas less than 12 per cent of the total number of American farms have central-station electric service, the proportion in some countries of Europe is as great as 50 or 60 per cent. The generally compact nature of the European countryside, in contrast to the vast extent of many American agricultural tracts and the consequent isolation of farms located thereon, accounts in large measure for the greater extent of rural electrification abroad. Although there are difficult obstacles to overcome, it is clearly the conviction of the administration that rural electric service can nevertheless be substantially extended in this country.

The advisability of taking prompt action to increase the general use of electric power was emphasized by David E. Lilienthal, director of the Tennessee Valley Authority in charge of power development, in a speech at Atlanta on November 10, 1933:

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Apr. 04, 1973  Future of Social Programs
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Apr. 12, 1941  Public Works in the Post-Emergency Period
Mar. 08, 1940  Integration of Utility Systems
Feb. 26, 1938  The Permanent Problem of Relief
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Nov. 27, 1936  New Deal Aims and the Constitution
Oct. 16, 1936  Father Coughlin vs. the Federal Reserve System
Sep. 25, 1936  Roosevelt Policies in Practice
Feb. 11, 1936  Conditional Grants to the States
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Sep. 25, 1935  Unemployment Relief Under Roosevelt
Jul. 17, 1935  The R.F.C. Under Hoover and Roosevelt
Jul. 03, 1935  Six Months of the Second New Deal Congress
Jun. 04, 1935  The Supreme Court and the New Deal
Mar. 05, 1935  Public Works and Work Relief
Feb. 16, 1935  Organized Labor and the New Deal
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Oct. 26, 1934  Federal Relief Programs and Policies
Jul. 25, 1934  Distribution of Federal Emergency Expenditures
Jul. 17, 1934  Debt, Credit, and Recovery
May 25, 1934  The New Deal in the Courts
Mar. 27, 1934  Construction and Economic Recovery
Mar. 19, 1934  Price Controls Under N.R.A.
Feb. 15, 1934  Federal Promotion of State Unemployment Insurance
Jan. 10, 1934  Government and Business After the Depression
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Dec. 12, 1933  The Machine and the Recovery Program
Dec. 05, 1933  Winter Relief, 1933–1934
Nov. 11, 1933  Power Policies of the Roosevelt Administration
Oct. 28, 1933  Buying Power under the Recovery Program
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Sep. 20, 1933  The Capital Market and the Securities Act
Jul. 18, 1933  Public Works and National Recovery
Jul. 01, 1933  The Plan for National Industrial Control
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Apr. 26, 1933  Government Subsidies to Private Industry
Mar. 25, 1933  Rehabilitation of the Unemployed
Feb. 17, 1933  Federal Cooperation in Unemployment Relief
Nov. 16, 1932  Systems of Unemployment Compensation
Nov. 09, 1932  Policies of the New Administration
Aug. 18, 1932  Emergency Relief Construction and Self-Liquidating Projects
Dec. 28, 1931  Relief of Unemployment
Aug. 01, 1931  National Economic Planning
Jul. 20, 1931  Dividends and Wages in Periods of Depression
Feb. 19, 1931  Insurance Against Unemployment
Jan. 19, 1931  Business Failures and Bankruptcy Administration
Jan. 01, 1931  Federal Subsidies to the States
Dec. 08, 1930  Federal Relief of Economic Distress
Sep. 25, 1930  The Extent of Unemployment
May 16, 1930  Politics and Depressions
Dec. 20, 1929  The Federal Public Works Program
Jun. 08, 1929  The Federal Reserve System and Stock Speculation
Apr. 14, 1928  The Federal Reserve System and Price Stabilization
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Electric Power