Co-op Facts and Figures

Source: National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

The Wyoming Rural Electric Association represents 14 consumer-owned electric cooperatives throughout the state, in addition to three generation and transmission cooperatives (G&Ts).

What is a Co-op?

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

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


  1. Voluntary and Open Membership
  2. Democratic Member Control
  3. Members’ Economic Participation
  4. Autonomy and Independence
  5. Education, Training, and Information
  6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives
  7. Concern for Community

Distribution cooperatives are the foundation of the rural electric network, delivering electricity to retail customers. 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 providing electric service, electric co-ops support their communities by 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.


Co-op Facts at a Glance

In the United States:

  • 841 distribution and 65 G&T cooperatives serve an estimated 42 million people in 47 states
  • Co-ops supply electricity to 18.5 million businesses, homes, schools, churches, farms, irrigation systems, and other establishments in 2,500 of the nation’s 3,141 counties
  • Rural electric co-ops serve more than 12 percent of the nation’s meters

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 annually

Compared with other electric utilities:

Consumers per mile Annual revenue per mile
Cooperatives 7.4 $15,000
Investor-owned utilities 34 $75,500
Publicly owned utilities 48 $113,000
  • Co-ops serve an average of 7.4 consumers per mile of line and collect annual revenue of approximately $15,000 per mile
  • Investor-owned utilities average 34 customers per mile of line and collect $75,500 per mile

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