Established in October 30, 1935 in Millersburg, Ohio, Holmes-Wayne Electric Cooperative, Inc. is a non profit electric distribution utility. We are owned and operated by our member-owners. 

Headquartered in Millersburg, with a district office in West Salem, HWEC maintains over 2,300 miles of distribution line and 19 substations. We serve more than 18,000 accounts in Holmes, Wayne, Medina, Ashland, Stark, Tuscarawas, Knox and Coshocton counties.

A nine member board of trustees, comprised of cooperative members, and elected by the membership, oversees the Cooperative. The board hires the president/CEO who is responsible for the day-to-day operations including 41 employees.

The average residential consumer on Holmes-Wayne's lines uses about 1,350 kilowatt hours (KWH) per month. As a non-profit Cooperative, any margins received beyond the cost of providing service (profits) are allocated to each member's account, based on amounts billed, and eventually returned to the members. These assigned margins are referred to as capital credits.

Holmes-Wayne Electric Cooperative, Inc. paid $3,289,826 in taxes with a revenue of approximately $50,733,539 in 2022.

A member-owner of Buckeye Power, Inc., HWEC buys all of its electricity from Buckeye Power, which also operates as a Co-op. Therefore, all member-owners of Holmes-Wayne Electric are also a member-owner of Buckeye Power.

Our Story

October 1935

Holmes-Wayne Electric was formed on October 30, 1935, in Millersburg. In 1930, only 140 residences in Holmes County had electricity. A few gentlemen took the lead to establish Holmes Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc. They began by speaking at small town meetings and going to individual farms. As farmers began to sign up for membership, the maps of electric lines began to take shape.

December 1935

In December 1935, Wayne County Residents contacted Holmes Rural Electric Cooperative to consider joining efforts. Wayne County had begun recruiting members but had not received REA loan approval. Thereafter, 245 members of Wayne County, totaling $1,270 in membership dues, were added to the rolls of Holmes-Wayne Electric Cooperative.

Spring 1936

In the spring of 1936, the first loan was signed for $269,000 at 3% interest, payable in installments over a 20-year period. This loan was to build 214 miles of line.

February 1937

The first substation was energized in February 1937 in Moreland, and in March, the first consumers were connected, with 493 members served by 121 miles of line. It was one of the first substations in the rural area, and it also provided power to the Tuscarawas-Coshocton Cooperative, now known as The Frontier Power Company. HWEC's substation supplied power to the neighboring cooperative until 1948, when it built it's own substation


In the 1940's electric cooperatives in Ohio began to combine efforts , as World War II made materials and supplies difficult to obtain, hampering cooperatives' expansion. Annual meetings in those years were poorly attended, and the records mention obtaining ration stamps for hot dogs and cheese lunches. Door prizes were war savings stamps and war bonds.


After the war, it was a new beginning for Holmes Rural Electric Cooperative. Land was purchased for a future substation in Wayne County. Membership continued to grow, and by the mid-1950's, three more substations were energized. The cooperative reached a milestone in 1956, with year-end financials showing over $1 million in net worth. In 1958, the cooperative changed its name from Holmes Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc., to Holmes-Wayne Electric Cooperative, Inc. The following year, the headquarters moved to its current location just north of Millersburg.


In 1963, the cooperative retired its first capital credits. A total of $20,382.21 was paid to members who received service in 1945.


The 1970's saw HWEC's continued growth, but the cooperative also had to dig out of the infamous blizzard of 1978, literally and financially. Line personal struggled to restore power, lacking four-wheel-drive equipment. Snowmobiles helped, but many found themselves stranded on back roads and rights-of-way that saw 6-8 foot drifts. The blizzard was the most expensive storm to date for the co-op, resulting in $200,000 in damage.


The computer era ushered in a new way of doing business at HWEC. Spreadsheets and computers helped plant accounting become more accurate and sped up inventory tracking and work orders. The billing procedure, which took two people a full week to process 6,000 accounts, now runs, 18,000 overnight. Payroll, which took a full day, now takes about an hour.

2004 & 2005

Ice storms in December 2004 and January 2005 knocked out power of more than 15,000 members - or more than 90 percent of the membership. Of HWEC's 18 substations, 16 were in operable because of destroyed transmission lines. The ice broke 110 poles and laid 500 miles of power lines on the ground.

2005 & 2008

The Millersburg office and warehouse were remodeled to accommodate further growth and investment.


SmartHub was introduced to give members an online portal to report meter readings and outages.

HWEC's Operation Round Up program celebrated 10 years and half a million dollars donated from members.


58 years after the first capital credits return of $20,382.21, HWEC returned more than $1.1 million in capital credits to members in June 2021.

June 14, 2022

HWEC experienced the worst natural disaster in its history. Straight line winds and high-speed gusts were reported throughout HWEC's service territory during the early morning hours. A Macroburst of 90 mph winds downed trees of all sizes between Wooster and Millersburg knocking out power to thousands. Over 13,000 of HWEC's 18,000 meters (74%) and 10 of our 18 substations were without power. The number of broken poles climbed to 300. With the assistance of additional crews from Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky, power was 100% restored 9 days later on June 22, 2022. Costs for immediate recovery following the storm topped $3 million.