JavaScript must be enabled to use most Member features of this website. See How to enable JavaScript in your browser for more information and help with turning cookies on in your browser.

What is a Cooperative?

America's Electric Cooperative Network

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 864 Distribution and 66 Generation & Transmission cooperatives that serve:

  • 40 million people in 47 states
  • 17 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 percent of the nation's population

To perform their mission electric cooperatives:

  • Own and maintain 2.4 million miles, or 43%, of the nation's electric distribution lines, covering three quarters of the nation's landmass
  • Deliver 10 percent of the total kilowatt hours sold in the U.S. each year
  • Employ 67,000 people in the United States
  • Pay more than $483 million in capital credits annually
  • Pay more than $1.2 billion in state and local taxes