Electric Cooperatives

As I am sitting in the dark without power once again, courtesy of a storm having blown through the ArkLaTex region earlier and the inability of our infrastructure to endure such things, apparently, I am reminded of my having studied electric cooperatives in school for one of my political science courses.

An electric cooperative, also known as an electric co-op, is a type of utility company that is owned and governed by the customers it serves. Unlike traditional power companies, which are typically investor-owned and operated for profit, such as Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO), electric co-ops are non-profit organizations focused on meeting the needs of their member-owners.

Electric co-ops are formed by communities or groups of individuals who come together to collectively own and control their electric utility. Members of an electric co-op have a say in the decision-making process and may even have the opportunity to serve on the co-op’s board of directors.

One of the key benefits of electric co-ops is their commitment to serving the needs of their local communities. They prioritize reliability, affordable rates, and customer satisfaction over maximizing profits. Electric co-ops often invest in renewable energy sources, promote energy efficiency programs, and engage in community development initiatives.

In sum, an electric co-op is a customer-owned and customer-governed utility that focuses on providing reliable and affordable electricity to its members while prioritizing community needs. If SWEPCO isn’t up to the task of keeping the lights on, perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad idea to begin researching the feasibility of an electric co-op for the region. It’s food for thought, anyway.