Runestone Electric Association’s roots run deep – even from an electric cooperative standpoint.
The Alexandria, Minn.-based co-op’s origins began soon after Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the Rural Electrification Administration to bring power to rural consumers. FDR, who noted higher kilowatt-hour prices at his rural cottage compared to his city home in one of his writings, may have also been persuaded by then-Minnesota Sen. Henrick Shipstead’s personal message to the president concerning the lack of electricity at his cabin on Lake Irene, located north of Alexandria.
Three months after FDR instated the Rural Electrification Administration, Douglas County Light and Power – now known as Runestone Electric Association – held its organizational meeting in August 1935, and then was incorporated Nov. 30, 1935.
The co-op now serves 14,500 accounts, most of which are residential members, though its commercial accounts are a blend of manufacturing, agri-business and tourism-based businesses. Examples include Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center, a destination spot with a spa, golf course and indoor waterpark; Carlos Creek Winery, a major winery and event center; and Andes Tower Hills, which offers skiing, snowboarding and tubing.