All About Cooperatives
On May 11, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Rural Electrification Administration, for the sole purpose of electrifying rural America. With financial support and technical assistance from the REA, rural residents came together to form electric cooperatives.
Northwestern REC was organized by local farmers and other rural folks in 1935 and incorporated on February 13, 1936 - the first electric distribution cooperative in Pennsylvania. First energized on May 19, 1937, Northwestern REC now serves 20,000 members in Crawford, Erie, Venango, Mercer and Warren Counties in Pennsylvania over 2,650 miles of electric line.
Owned by those it serves, Northwestern REC operates under the seven basic cooperative principles:
Northwestern REC serves about 8 members per mile of line as opposed to more than 34 customers per mile for Penelec.
We have a 10 member board, one director from each of our districts. Kathy Cooper-Winters is our Board Chair and Bill Buchanan is the current president and CEO. The president and CEO is a paid employee responsible for the daily operations of the co-op. The directors are elected by the membership on or before annual meeting, which is held in July or August. This year the annual meeting is scheduled for Aug. 15, at the Church of New Beginnings in Meadville. Each membership is entitled to ONE VOTE.
The co-op is owned and controlled by the members who receive its electric service. It is a non-profit because any money left at the end of the year (margins) is returned to the members. This return is called Capital Credits or Patronage Refunds.
Like most electric cooperatives, Northwestern REC borrows money for line construction from the Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC).
Allegheny Electric Cooperative, Inc. is the generation and transmission cooperative for the 13 rural electric co-ops in Pennsylvania and one in New Jersey. The Pennsylvania Rural Electric Association (PREA) is the statewide organization that helps with legislation and communication. Both of these organizations are located in Harrisburg, Pa.
The right to serve certain areas is protected by a law called the Territorial Protection Act. It is very important that the rural electrics keep good lines of communication open with legislators. In this way, the legislators can help their constituents while co-ops help their members.
Area Coverage means the co-op will provide service to anyone in its service territory who desires electricity. Co-ops do not discriminate based on race, religion, gender, political or social affiliation, or sexual orientation.
Allegheny Electric Cooperative has a 10 percent ownership in Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, a nuclear generating plant, and complete ownership of the Matson Hydroelectric Plant located on the Raystown Lake. Other energy required by the cooperatives comes from purchases on the open market.
ARE YOU READY FOR STEP TWO? Let's GO!
For more information, call Amy Wellington, YT Coordinator, M - F, 7am - 3:30pm, at 800-352-0014, or email anytime.