Cooperative Difference

America’s Electric Cooperative Facts





generation and transmission

electric cooperatives

Co-ops provide service in




counties in the United States

Own and maintain

2.7 million miles



of the nation’s electric distribution lines, covering 56% of the nation’s landmass

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.

Cooperative Affiliates