Electric Co-op Action Page

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Organizations from seven Southeastern states assessed electric co-ops to give members the information they need to improve their utilities

November 11, 2022

Dan Radmacher, (540) 798-6683, dan@appvoices.org
Tom Llewellyn, (925) 876-2942, tom@shareable.net

On Nov. 16, organizations from Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia will release scorecards examining how electric cooperatives in their states measured up across a number of areas, including governance, transparency, energy efficiency, member access to clean energy and other factors, and calling attention to how co-ops are performing across the Southeast in the wake of National Cooperative Month.

The organizations releasing the scorecards are hosting a press conference webinar at 11 a.m. EDT on Nov. 16 to discuss the results. RSVP for the press conference here.

The Southeast Regional Electric Cooperative Scorecards are hosted on the website EnergyDemocracyYall.org, a hub for organizations working to build energy systems that serve the communities where they live. In advance of Wednesday’s webinar, scorecard data is already available at this site on an embargoed basis. Please do not publicize this data prior to the webinar.

Website visitors will find an interactive source of information where they can look up specific data about electric cooperatives like geographic and demographic details of their service areas, and information about governance, board composition and accessibility of electric cooperatives.

Electric cooperatives are utilities owned by their customer-members. An outgrowth of rural social movements in the 1930s and 1940s, and established by the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, electric co-ops helped bring electricity to rural communities that private corporations didn’t want to serve.

The unique, member-owned structure of electric co-ops means that they are supposed to be governed by their members, and aligned with principles of democratic governance that are supported by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (the cooperatives’ trade group). And yet, many electric co-ops have lost sight of these values over time. These utilities should be vehicles for meeting a range of needs in rural communities and instilling democratic values. Southeastern co-ops have an opportunity to lead the way by modeling the better practices this scorecard evaluates.

Members, many of whom gathered last month for NRECA’s regional meetings, are working to transform electric co-ops, modernizing them and speeding their transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, while ensuring they are operating transparently. These scorecards, rating the performance of cooperatives in relevant areas, will show members how their co-ops are doing, and where they need improvement, ultimately providing a roadmap for reform.

The scorecard release is a joint project between Appalachian VoicesPartnership for Southern EquityEnergy Alabama, One Voice, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth and Mountain Association, via the Advancing Equity and Opportunity Collaborative.