CAMPBELL ANNOUNCES BREMCO SCHOLARSHIPS

BOSSIER CITY – A scholarship fund worth up to $600,000 will be established at Bossier Parish Community College as a legacy of Bossier Rural Electric Membership Corporation and its 55 years of service to Northwest Louisiana families and businesses. 

Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell has worked with BPCC and BREMCO successor AEP/SWEPCO to dedicate $300,000 in remaining BREMCO capital credits to the “BREMCO/SWEPCO Legacy Scholarship Fund” at BPCC. 

BPCC Chancellor Dr. Rick Bateman Jr. said BPCC will leverage the BREMCO money to compete for endowment matching funds through the Board of Regents to make the scholarship worth up to $600,000. 

“Bossier Rural Electric was critical to the development of Bossier Parish and surrounding areas from the era of the New Deal through the latter part of the 20th Century,” Campbell said. 

“Investing these remaining BREMCO funds to create scholarships for young people attending BPCC is a fitting way to carry on that tradition.” 

Bateman called the scholarship a “vote of confidence” in BPCC. 

“We are beyond grateful for this generous gift that will help support students pursuing educational training to meet workforce needs in our regional economy,” Bateman said. 

SWEPCO President Venita McCellon-Allen said the utility company assumed the obligation of returning $1.7 million in capital credits to BREMCO members when it purchased the co-op in 1993. 

Capital credits are revenues collected by electric cooperatives in profitable years and returned to members based on the amount of electricity they use during those years. 

SWEPCO made multiple rounds of payments over three years to refund the credits to BREMCO members and heirs. 

“We exhausted all efforts to locate the rightful owners,” McCellon-Allen said. 

In 2007, at Campbell’s suggestion, SWEPCO took the remaining funds and set up a general scholarship program for the former co-op members and their heirs. 

The program awarded 262 scholarships with a total value of $645,000. 

“That program has now run its course, and so we are happy to work with Commissioner Campbell and BPCC on this new effort,” said McCellon-Allen. 

Campbell’s history with BREMCO goes back to his days as a co-op member. As a state senator in the 1980s, he encouraged the merger of BREMCO and SWEPCO after the co-op saw sharply increased rates during the decade. 

BREMCO was founded during the New Deal era of President Franklin Roosevelt. It operated as a co-op until its sale to SWEPCO in 1993. Its territory included approximately 9,400 customers in four parishes: Bossier, Bienville, Red River and Webster. 

Scholarship applicants may apply for BREMCO/SWEPCO Legacy Scholarships through the BPCC Foundation beginning in Fall 2017 at www.bpcc.edu/Foundation/scholarships. For more information contact the BPCC Foundation Director at srogers@bpcc.edu. 

ADDITIONAL PRESS CONTACTS 

 Bossier Parish Community College: Tracy McGill, 318-678-6190 

 SWEPCO: Scott McCloud, 318-673-3532

Ira Wray