On May 11, 1935, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order #7037 that created the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) for the purpose of securing financing to build transmission lines and distribution lines to provide electric power to the rural areas. Before this, investor-owned utilities did not consider it profitable to bring electricity to rural areas because there were few potential customers and they used too little electricity to make it worthwhile.

Locally, efforts began with a county-wide meeting held in 1935 at the Hanover Township Centralized School for the purpose of "establishing an organization to be formed among ourselves on a non-profit basis for acquiring and distributing electrical energy." That is the essence of cooperatives today.

On April 4, 1936, local farmers met to adopt the newly formed Cooperative's Code of Regulations and elected Marcus Beard from Morgan Township to lead the way. The original name of the Cooperative was Butler County Farm Bureau Electric Cooperative. The name was subsequently changed to Butler Rural Electric Cooperative.

The next step was to sign up farmers who wanted to be members of this new electrical cooperative. By 1936, 660 members were signed up and anxiously awaiting service. At the March, 1936, organizational meeting, the Cooperative was given the name it has today, Butler Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc.