Overton Power District #5 (OPD5) was created in 1935, as community members recognized the need to create a non-for-profit power provider to improve living conditions for the residents of the Moapa and Virgin Valleys and the importance of electricity for a healthy economic growth of the region.
In 1935, when Hoover Dam was nearing completion, federal government officials realized the need to create local power districts to distribute the power generated to rural areas. These districts would be responsible to see that the electricity was properly distributed to those who resided within the communities of each newly created district.
Nevada passed statutes allowing for the creation of improvement districts and to set the guidelines on how those districts function in terms of organization, finances, and operations. Groups and communities got together, organized, and applied as districts. The Nevada State Public Utilities Commission then assigned each district a number according to when they received the district’s application.
Lincoln County applied first. Overton, Logandale, Moapa, and Glendale followed suit. During this process, Mesquite and Bunkerville expressed their interest to join the Moapa Valley communities, and apply instead as a group, making the region a single district.
The Moapa Valley communities withdrew their first application, made the changes and resubmitted their application as Overton Power District. By the time the application was resubmitted, they become the fifth applicant in line, and that’s where the District gets what we all know today as Overton Power District #5.
Minutes which were recorded on November 15, 1935, state that Mr. Hardy, Mr. W. H. Lyon, and Mr. Jesse Winn had been appointed as members of the Board of Trustees of OPD5 by the County Commissioner of Clark County. At that meeting, these members completed the organization of the District and appointed Mr. Lyon as President, Mr. Hardy as Treasurer, and Mr. Winn as Secretary. They setup the process of obtaining power from “Boulder Dam” and acquiring money to construct a power line.
The Rural Electrification Act of 1936 enacted on May 20, 1936 provided federal loans for the installation of electrical distribution systems to serve isolated rural areas of the United States. The first of many loans from the Rural Electrification Administration was obtained by OPD5 in 1938 to construct, operate, and maintain transmission and distribution power lines.
In August 8, 1938, OPD5 solicited bids for the construction of the infrastructure to energize the District’s service territory. The project consisted of 24 miles of 69 KV power line commencing at Sheep Mountain Junction where it tapped to the existing Lincoln County Power District #1 trans¬mission line.
OPD5 also planned for 69 miles of three phase 12,500 volts primary lines, 5 miles of single-phase 7,200 volts primary lines, 4 miles of secondary lines, the substations, and the services to connect approximately 350 consumers installations.
The contract was awarded to the firm Bennett and Taylor and in November 1938 the firm was given notice to begin the construction of the power lines for the District.
According to the records of the District, on May 20, 1939, three years after the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 was enacted, a program was held in Overton to celebrate the occasion of energizing the power lines in the Moapa and Virgin Valleys.
The process to bring electricity to the Moapa and Virgin Valleys was far from an easy task, it was filled with setbacks and obstacles. On May 20, 1939 through the hard work and determination of those who served on the Board in the early days of the District, their vision towards lighting the way was finally materialized.