PRECorp Recognizes Upton, Resident

PRECorp Recognizes Upton, Resident Main Photo

5 Oct 2021


Upton resident Shelly Ritthaler received the Powder River Energy Cooperative’s (PRECorp) Earl Christensen Award on August 21 for her work writing a history of the organization. PRECorp makes the annual designation for those who demonstrate the cooperative’s spirit.

“It is a wonderful story that will help you understand the sacrifices the early pioneers at Tri-County and Sheridan-Johnson made and how much they wanted electricity and running water in their communities,” stated Ritthaler at a ceremony when presented the award. 

As a historian and author from Weston County, Ritthaler has published two history books on Wyoming electric cooperatives. The first was published in 1995, detailing 50 years of Tri-County Electric Association (TCEA). The second is the 75th Anniversary of Powder River Energy, published in 2020, which traces the merger of TCEA and Sheridan-Johnson Rural Electric Association in 1997 and the following 25 years of the resulting company, PRECorp.

“Because of her enthusiasm for chasing down the stories of the birth and growth of the rural electric cooperatives in northeastern Wyoming, the PRECorp Board of Directors has unanimously chosen Shelly Ritthaler as the 2022 recipient of the Earl Christensen Award,” said PRECorp CEO Mike Easley.

PRECorp Serves Upton

The award for the Upton resident is just one example of how PRECorp emphasizes serving its member communities. As a Touchstone Energy Cooperative, PRECorp’s philosophy is “the power of many for the benefit of all.” A description of its customers illustrate that point. PRECorp has more than 12,000 members and provided more than 1.8 billion kilowatt hours of power throughout its service territory in 2020. It distributed approximately 38 percent to coal mines, 31 percent to oil-related and other industrial and commercial accounts, 17 percent to residential and irrigation customers and 14 percent to coal bed methane wells.

PRECorp’s impact in Upton is undeniable. In 2020, it provided a $10,000 grant to the Upton Economic Development Board to help fund an Upton community feasibility study on assessment for a Small Business Development, a Resource Center and a Small Business Center-Business Park. The funding came from Lunavi’s purchase of Wyoming Renewable Energy Credits. 

PRECorp is truly a “by-the-people, for-the-people” organization dedicated to being more than a provider. In light of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has on the local area in 2020, PRECorp employees donated the funds typically held for their Christmas party to help local food pantries and soup kitchens. The PRECorp Foundation matched those funds dollar-for-dollar match of those funds. When another Touchstone Energy Cooperative, Basin Electric, matched PRECorp’s funds, the total reached $32,500 to help feed the hungry across five northeast Wyoming counties. Weston County organizations that were impacted included B.R.E.A.D. Inc, the Upton Food Bank and Weston County Senior Services.

Powder River Energy Corporation is a member-owned, nonprofit electric cooperative headquartered in Sundance, WY., serving approximately ­­­27,000 active electric meters at residences, ranches, coal mines, oil and gas wells, businesses, and industry in the five counties of northeastern Wyoming. For more information go to

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