Electric Notes
Co-ops Celebrate 75 Years of Rural Electrification
Co-ops are independent and collectively owned and governed by member/customers


Edward Homan | Dreamstime.com

Your electric cooperative is one of approximately 900 in America. Like all of them, your co-op is independent and collectively owned and governed by you and your fellow member/customers.

Electric co-ops serve about 42 million Americans, yet they remain deeply rooted in the communities where they started 75 years ago.

As late as the mid-1930s, nine out of 10 rural homes lacked electricity. But on May 11, 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order No. 7037, establishing the Rural Electrification Administration. The REA included a lending program that began the next year with the passage of the Rural Electrification Act.

The agency, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was the precursor to today’s Rural Utilities Service, which makes loans and loan guarantees to electric cooperatives and telephone, water and sewer utilities that serve rural areas.

Electric cooperatives like yours continue to operate as democratically governed businesses. Collectively, cooperatives generate nearly 5 percent of the electricity consumed in the U.S. each year.