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America's Electric Cooperatives

Co-op Facts & Figures

America’s Cooperative Electric Utilities

 

The Nation’s Consumer-Owned Electric Utility Network

Electric cooperatives are an integral part of the $370 billion U.S. electric utility industry. They play a critical role in our nation’s economy and in local communities.

 

Electric Cooperatives Are:

  • Private, independent, non-profit electric utilities

  • Owned by the customers they serve

  • Incorporated under the laws of the states in which they operate

  • Established to provide at-cost electric service

  • Governed by a board of directors elected from the membership which sets policies and procedures that are implemented by the co-op’s management

     

    Distribution cooperatives are the foundation of the rural electric network. They deliver electricity to retail customers. Generation & transmission cooperatives (G&Ts) provide wholesale power to distribution co‑ops through their own generation or by purchasing power on behalf of the distribution members.

     

    In addition to electric service, electric co-ops are deeply involved in their communities promoting development and revitalization projects, small businesses, job creation, improvement of water and sewer systems and assistance in delivery of health care and educational services.

     

    Facts at a Glance

  • 840 distribution and 65 G&T cooperatives, a total of 905 NRECA co-op members

  • Serve an estimated 42 million people in 47 states

  • 18.5 million businesses, homes, schools, churches, farms, irrigation systems and other establishments in 2,500 of 3,141 counties in the U.S.

  • More than 12 percent of the nation’s meters are customers of rural electric co-ops

  • Electric Co-op Fact Sheet 2016

     

    To Perform Their Mission, Electric Cooperatives:

  • Own assets worth $140 billion (distribution and G&T co-ops combined)

  • Own and maintain 2.5 million miles, or 42 percent, of the nation’s electric distribution lines, covering three quarters of the nation’s landmass

  • Deliver 11 percent of the total kilowatt‑hours sold in the U.S. each year

  • generate nearly 5 percent of the total electricity produced in the U.S. each year

  • employ 70,000 people in the U.S.

  • retire $600 million in capital credits annually

  • pay $1.4 billion in state and local taxes

     

    Compared with Other Electric Utilities:

  • Co-ops serve an average of 7.4 consumers per mile of line and collect annual revenue of approximately $15,000 per mile of line

  • Investor‑owned utilities average 34 customers per mile of line and collect $75,500 per mile

  • Publicly owned utilities, or municipals, average 48 consumers and collect $113,000 per mile

  • Electric Utility Comparisons (2010 EIA data)

    Electric Utility Comparisons (2010 EIA data)

 

Investor Owned

Publicly Owned

Cooperatives

 Total

Total Revenue (billions)

$273

$53

$40

$366

Number of Organizations

200

2,000

912

3,112

Number of Total Customers

104 m

21 m

18.5 m

144 m

Size (median number of customers)

400,000

2,000

13,000

 

Revenues, % of total

75%

14%

11%

 

Customers, % of total

72%

15%

12%

 

KWh sales, % of total

73%

16%

11%

 
 

Investor Owned

Publicly Owned

Cooperatives

Total

Sales (billion kilowatt hours)

       

Residential

992

212

239

1,443

Commercial

1,057

210

84

1,351

Industrial

659

148

90

897

Total

2,708

570

413

3,691

 

Investor Owned

Publicly Owned

Cooperatives

Total

Miles of Distribution Line

50%

7%

43%

100%

Customers per mile of line (density)

34

48

7.4

 

Revenue per mile of line

$75,500

$113,000

$15,000

 

Distribution plant per Customer

$2,798

$2,740*

$3,290

 

Assets (billions)

$870

$260*

$140

$1,270*

Equity (billions)

$280

$76*

$42

$398*

Equity%

32%

32%*

30%

 

*Publicly Owned data is not available; these are estimates based on past growth

http://www.nreca.coop/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/CoopNetwork.jpg

 

Source Notes:

National Rural Electric Cooperatives of America

www.nreca.coop

Energy Information Administration (EIA) Electric Sales, Revenue, and Price 2010.
http://www.eia.gov/electricity/data.cfm#sales

“Total retail revenues in 2010 were $368.906 billion” (Electric Power Monthly Table 5.2.)
Industry revenue, sales and customer data is from EIA Form 861.

Investor-Owned statistics includes IOU affiliates engaged in competitive retail markets; sales data does not add to total because sales from federally owned utilities not shown

The number of cooperatives, 840 distribution systems and 65 G&Ts, includes a small number of rural public power districts that are considered part of the rural electric network.

Density and distribution plant per customer data is 2009.

Co-op financial data is from the 2010 RUS Form 7 (and CFC Form 7, if available).

EIA: Energy Information Administration (a part of DOE), Washington, DC.
RUS: Rural Utilities Service (a part of USDA), Washington, DC.
CFC: Cooperative Finance Corporation, Herndon, VA.

 

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