How Do Electric Cooperatives Support Their Members?

How Do Electric Cooperatives Support Their Members? Main Photo

23 Aug 2023


“How do electric cooperatives support their members in ways that publicly-owned electric companies don’t?” That’s an understandable question since, from the outside, a cooperative and publicly-owned electric company provides the same basic service: - electricity. While it is true that the core of our business is providing reliable energy to our members, this is where we diverge: . Publicly-owned electric companies are owned by shareholders who have invested in the company and want to make a profit. Electric cooperatives, like Great River Energy, are owned by members whose interest is affordable services and economic opportunity. This distinction means that Great River Energy puts profits back into the community by investing in infrastructure, providing grants and loans to growing businesses, and advocating for policies and programs that help residents thrive. 

How do electric cooperatives support their members?

Great River Energy supports residential and business members by providing:

  1. Affordable electricity
  2. A reliable energy supply
  3. Grid expansion in rural areas
  4. Renewable energy options
  5. Education
  6. Financial assistance
  7. Community engagement and sponsorships
  8. Legislative advocacy 
  9. Programs to make businesses and homes more energy efficient
  10. Safe energy solutions 

Electric cooperatives support their members by creating customized solutions to their energy needs. In many rural communities, cooperatives were formed because publicly-owned energy companies didn’t want to pay for the infrastructure necessary to bring electricity to rural farmers and businesses. These same people formed cooperatives to benefit from the same infrastructure found in more urban areas. Electric cooperatives, like Great River Energy, are still filling this need. When our rural customers need a particular energy solution or help with economic development, we work with our partners to provide a solution. 

Contact Tom Labrecht, Manager of Economic Development Services, for more information on how we support our members and can assist you.