As consumer-owned, not-for-profit utilities accountable to their members, cooperatives have traditionally promoted energy efficiency and demand-side management (DSM) as a means to keep members’ bills low. Now, many cooperatives also see increasing efficiencies on both sides of the meter as key to addressing the challenge of growing demand and rising costs.
As late as the mid-1930s, 9 out of 10 rural homes were without electric service. Most rural electrification is the product of locally owned rural electric cooperatives that got their start by borrowing funds from the REA to build lines and provide service on a not-for-profit basis.
This visualization shows the growth of NRECA electric cooperatives in the United States over time.