America’s Electric Cooperative Facts
Serve an estimated
42 million people
in 48 states
generation and transmission
Co-ops provide service in
Co-ops serve nearly
of the nation’s meters
of the electricity produced in the United States each year
Own and maintain
2.7 million miles
of the nation’s electric distribution lines, covering 56% of the nation’s landmass
returned in capital credits to member-consumers
generated in federal, state, and local taxes
20 million +
businesses, homes, schools, and farms powered
The Electric Cooperative Story
Leaders in rural communities across the nation recognized the value of electricity heading into the 1930s. This began the nation’s electric cooperative movement.
About the time the electric co-op movement began, leaders of Indiana Farm Bureau Cooperative Association drafted legislation permitting the formation of nonprofit rural electric cooperatives.
To further the benefits of the electric cooperative distribution efforts, Hoosier Energy was formed in 1949 to provide its member systems a dependable, economical power supply.
Electric Cooperatives Today
Expansion of electric cooperatives changed the face of the national economy and continues to be a catalyst for economic growth today. Nearly 900 electric cooperatives across the nation are part of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), located in Arlington, Virginia. Touchstone Energy is the national brand for electric cooperatives, supporting cooperatives and their specific needs by sharing information and technology.
Customer-Driven Business Model
Cooperative businesses are unique because those they serve own the business. Today, electric cooperatives contribute nearly 5% of electricity in the United States. Across the country, local cooperatives work together to learn from each other and keep the grid secure as they deliver electricity to 42 million consumer-members. Providing wholesale power to these local cooperatives are generation and transmission cooperatives like Hoosier Energy. Electric cooperatives are community-focused organizations that provide at-cost energy and are led by directors who are elected by members. Cooperatives were built by those living in the communities they served – creating jobs, fueling growth, and powering communities.
The 7 Cooperative Principles
The consumer-owned cooperative business model is based on 7 cooperative principles established in 1844 in Rochdale, England.
Open & Voluntary Membership
Cooperatives are voluntary organizations open to all who are willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without regard to gender, social, racial, political, or religious affiliation.
Democratic Member Control
Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. Elected representatives are accountable to the membership.
Members’ Economic Participation
Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative. Members allocate surpluses for developing the cooperative.
Autonomy & Independence
Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations. If they enter into agreements, they do so on terms that ensure that they maintain cooperative autonomy.
Education, Training, & Information
Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of the cooperative.
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
While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.