From booming suburbs to remote rural communities, America’s electric cooperatives are energy providers and engines of economic development. Electric cooperatives play a vital role in transforming communities.
- Co-ops own and maintain 42% (2.7 million miles) of U.S. electric distribution lines that serve our communities.
- Co-ops serve 42 million people across 2,500+ counties, including 92% of persistent poverty counties
- Co-ops power over 20 million businesses, homes, schools and farms in 48 states.
- In 2019, America’s electric co-ops returned more than $1.3 billion in capital credits to their consumer-members.
- 832 distribution co-ops are the foundation of the electric cooperative network. They were built by and serve co-op members in the community with the delivery of electricity and other services.
- 63 generation & transmission cooperatives provide wholesale power to distribution co-ops through their own electric generation facilities or by purchasing power on behalf of the distribution members.
Electricity Use and Energy Mix
Co-ops rely on a diverse energy mix to ensure a reliable, affordable and responsible electricity supply that meets the needs of their consumer-members. More than two-thirds of the electricity delivered by co-ops to members comes from low- or zero-carbon sources.
Unlike the rest of the electric sector, electric co-ops sell the majority of their power to households rather than businesses. Keeping rates affordable is especially important for these consumer-members at the end of the line.
Helping Rural Communities Respond to COVID-19
Throughout the pandemic, co-ops worked tirelessly to support their communities by keeping the lights on and finding new ways to lend a hand. Since the start of the pandemic, co-ops have:
- Provided COVID testing and hosted vaccination clinics in high-demand areas.
- Donated masks and hand sanitizer.
- Established free wifi hotspots for students and families working from home.
- Donated laptops to schools.
- Delivered meals in their communities.
Co-ops Are Jump-Starting Renewable Energy Growth
- From 2010 to 2020, co-ops nearly tripled their renewable capacity from 3.9 gigawatts to more than 11.4 gigawatts.
- Co-ops added more new renewable capacity in 2020, nearly 1.6 GW, than in any previous year.
- Electric co-ops have deployed enough wind and solar capacity to serve nearly 2.7 million homes.
- Co-ops have announced more than 6.4 GW of new renewable capacity additions planned from 2021-2024.
- Co-ops purchase 10 GW of hydropower from federal power marketing administrations and the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Co-ops Are Hubs of Innovation
As co-ops meet tomorrow’s energy needs, they invest in the future of their communities.
- Broadband: More than 200 co-ops are developing or planning to deploy broadband service to their members, giving them access to telehealth services, online learning, remote work and new possibilities for local businesses.
- Smart Meters: Electric cooperatives lead the industry in smart meter deployment, with a 73% penetration rate of AMI meters, compared to 58% for the rest of the industry.
- Energy Storage: Cooperatives have developed more than 50 energy storage projects, ranging from residential batteries to large utility-scale projects paired with renewable generation. Storage is an important element of microgrids, including on military installations.
- Carbon Capture: Electric cooperatives are partners in more than $30 million in innovative carbon capture technology research projects.
The Cooperative Difference
Electric co-ops are local energy and technology partners. Consumer-owned and not for profit, they are shaped by the specific needs of the communities they serve. This local, member-driven structure is one reason why cooperatives enjoy the highest consumer-satisfaction scores within the electric industry, according to J.D. Power and Associates and the American Customer Satisfaction Index.
- Electric cooperatives are built by and belong to the communities they serve. They are led by members from the community and are uniquely suited to meet local needs.
- Co-ops earned the highest average score and had 5 of the top 7 satisfaction scores among all types of electric utilities in the J.D. Power and Associates 2020 Utility Customer Satisfaction Study.
- Electric cooperatives, on average, score higher than all other electric companies, according to the 2021 American Customer Satisfaction Index.