What is an Electric Cooperative?
Cooperatives are not-for-profit, consumer-owned businesses. Electric utility cooperatives build and maintain three times the miles of power line of other utilities and do so at comparable rates despite fewer customers. They do this by operating on a not-for-profit, cost-of-service basis.
Once a member pays the membership fee, they become a part owner of the cooperative. They have a voice in how the cooperative is operated and influence this process through casting their vote at the annual meeting. It is also at the annual meeting that the members elect Cullman EC’s nine-member board of trustees from the membership. Three board positions are voted on at each annual meeting.
Because the members of the cooperative are also the owners this means the cooperative is locally owned and operated. Employees of the cooperative are also local residents who are familiar with the needs of the communities they serve. Click here to learn more about the history of Cullman Electric Cooperative.
Cullman Electric Cooperative is a member of NRECA, the national service organization for more than 900 not-for-profit rural electric cooperatives and public power districts providing retail electric service to more than 42 million consumers in 47 states and whose retail sales account for approximately 12 percent of total electricity sales in the United States.
NRECA’s members include consumer-owned local distribution systems — the vast majority — and 66 generation and transmission (G&T) cooperatives that supply wholesale power to their distribution cooperative owner-members. Distribution and G&T cooperatives share an obligation to serve their members by providing safe, reliable and affordable electric service.
Cullman Electric Cooperative is a member of the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives brand, which represents a nationwide alliance made of 750 local, consumer-owned electric cooperatives in 46 states. Touchstone Energy co-ops collectively deliver power and energy solutions to more than 30 million members every day. Electric cooperatives distribute power for 75 percent of the U.S. land mass over 2.4 million miles of power lines.
Electric cooperatives were established to provide electricity to rural America, and now make up the largest electric utility network in the nation. Touchstone Energy is the national brand identity for that network.
Cullman Electric Cooperative is a member of AREA, the statewide trade association serving Alabama’s 22 electric distribution cooperatives, the Tennessee Valley Authority and PowerSouth Energy Cooperative.
Through AREA, all of Alabama’s electric cooperatives pool their resources to gain strength and efficiency on issues common to electric cooperatives. Services offered by AREA include legislative representation at the state and national levels, safety and training programs, environmental compliance consulting, worker compensation, health benefits plan, printing and design, youth and community programs, media relations and a monthly magazine for Alabama electric cooperative consumers.
AREA’s headquarters, which contains inside and outside training facilities, is in Montgomery.
Cullman Electric Cooperative purchases all of its wholesale electricity from the Tennessee Valley Authority. TVA is a corporation owned by the U.S. government, and provides electricity for 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states at prices below the national average. TVA, which receives no taxpayer money and makes no profits, also provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists utilities and state and local governments with economic development.