What is a Cooperative?
Electric cooperatives were created when President Roosevelt signed an executive order in 1935 creating the Rural Electrification Administration.
A cooperative is a form of business owned and operated by its patrons. Members of the Cooperative work together for a common goal, and share in the excess margins (profits) of the Cooperative based on their patronage (annual energy charges).
Today there are 834 Distribution and 63 Generation & Transmission cooperatives that serve:
- 42 million people in 47 states
- 19 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)
- 12.8 percent of the nation's population
- 56 percent of the nation's landmass
To perform their mission electric cooperatives:
- Own and maintain 2.6 million miles, or 42%, of the nation's electric distribution lines, covering three quarters of the nation's landmass
- Deliver 11 percent of the total kilowatt hours sold in the U.S. each year
- Employ 71,000 people in the United States
- Retire more than $1 billion in capital credits annually
- Pay more than $1.3 billion in state and local taxes