An electric Cooperative is a not-for-profit electric utility service that is owned and operated by its Members.

Members of the Cooperative work together for a common goal and share in the excess margins of the Cooperative based on their patronage (annual energy charges). Electric cooperatives were created when President Roosevelt signed an executive order in 1935 creating the National Rural Electrification Administration (NRECA).



Today there are 832 Distribution and 63 Generation & Transmission cooperatives that serve:

  • 42 million people in 48 states
  • 21.5 million businesses, homes, schools, churches, farms, irrigations systems, and other establishments in 2,500 of 3,141 counties in the U.S. (80 percent of the nation’s counties)
  • 13 percent of the nation’s population
  • 56 percent of the nation’s landmass
  • Co-ops added 475,000 new Members in 2021.

Florida’s electric Cooperatives are:

  • Not-for-profit, private, independent electric utility businesses
  • Established to provide safe, affordable, resilient energy service.
  • Revenues beyond the Cooperative’s operating expenses go back to Members overtime as Capital Credit refunds.
  • Owned by consumer Members.
  • Governed by a Board of Trustees elected from the membership.
  • Incorporated under the laws of the State of Florida.

To perform their mission electric Cooperatives:

  • Own and maintain 2.7 million miles, or 42%, of the nation’s electric distribution lines, covering three quarters of the nation’s landmass.
  • Deliver 12 percent of the total kilowatt hours sold in the U.S. each year.
  • Employ 73,000 people in the United States
  • Retire more than $1.3 billion in Capital Credits annually.
  • Pay more than $1.5 billion in state and local taxes.

The name Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative, Inc., was chosen as a tribute to the Withlacoochee River, which was a common thread through the Cooperative’s original service area (Citrus, Hernando and Pasco counties) in Florida. The title “Cooperative” signifies the not for profit status of your utility.

The Cooperative was first organized on August 20, 1941. At that time, a group of innovative individuals asked the Rural Electrification Administration for a loan to begin construction of an electric system. Just a few days later war was declared, and all loans were repealed. After the conclusion of the war in 1945, the loan application was resubmitted and approved.

The first member was connected on April 4, 1947. The first operating report ending on May 31, 1947, reflected sales of 862 kWh at a cost of $0.19 per kWh. Today, your Cooperative’s energy sales on average exceed 363 million kWh per month, at a cost of less than $0.09 per kWh.

Although the numbers have changed considerably the main core of the seven Cooperative principles remain the same today:


  • Open Membership – Any person, firm, association, corporation, business trust, partnership, Federal agency, state, or local political agency is eligible for membership.
  • Democratic Control – Board of Trustee members are elected by the membership. Each member has one vote. Trustees set policy and employ the General Manager. Trustees serve three-year terms and ballots are cast by mail.
  • Economic Participation – As a not for profit organization any funds remaining at the end of the year are returned to the membership through the Capital Credits process and Revenue Rate Reductions. To date, your Cooperative has returned more than $459 million to our Member-Owners.
  • Autonomy and Independence – Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their Members.
  • Education, Training and Information – Cooperatives provide education and training for their Members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their Cooperatives.
  • Cooperation among Cooperatives – Cooperatives serve their Members most effectively and strengthen the Cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
  • Concern for Community – Your Cooperative is proud to be a Main Street company involved in projects to make our community a better place.

These principles differ greatly from many other utilities you may have had electric service with. Guiding our dedicated employees and our Members make us the world class utility we are today!