Concentrated housing patterns made providing electric service to cities and towns easier and less expensive than providing it to rural areas. In 1920, only 15 percent of farms in New England were electrified, but that was more than the national average.
Maine's rural nature as well as the number of inhabited islands presented challenges to wiring the state. In 1935, the federal government established the Rural Electrification Administration, which gave loans to cooperatives of rural or island residents who then built and maintained their own electric distribution systems.
In Maine, a few small cooperatives remain, including Fox Island Electric Cooperative on Vinalhaven, Isle Au Haut Electric Power, and the Swan's Island Electric Cooperative.
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