CO-OPFACTS

Facts at a Glance

900 distribution and 60 G&T cooperatives serve:

  • 34 million people in 46 states.
  • 13 million businesses, homes, schools, churches, farms, irrigation systems, and other establishments in 2,500 of 3,128 counties in the U.S.
  • 11 percent of the nation’s population.

To perform their mission, electric cooperatives:

  • own assets worth $70 billion,
  • own and maintain 2.3 million miles, or 44%, of the nation’s electric distribution lines, covering three quarters of the nation’s landmass,
  • deliver 7.9 percent of the total kilowatt-hours sold in the U.S. each year,
  • generate 4 percent of the total electricity produced in the U.S. each year,
  • employ nearly 60,000 people in the United States.
  • During 1997, electric cooperatives paid more than $707 million in state and local taxes.

Compared with other electric utilities:

  • Co-op sales grew twice as fast as the total electric industry average in 1998.
  • Co-ops serve an average of 6 consumers per mile of line and collect annual revenue of approximately $7,900 per mile of line,
  • Investor-owned utilities average 33 customers per mile of line and
  • collect $61,000 per mile of line,
  • Publicly owned utilities, or municipals, average 43 consumers and
  • collect $71,000 per mile of line.

Cooperative businesses are special because they are owned by the consumers they serve and because they are guided by a set of seven principles that reflect the best interests of those consumers.

More than 100 million people are members of 47,000 U.S. cooperatives, enabling consumers to secure a wide array of goods and services such as health care, insurance, housing, food, heating fuel, hardware, credit unions, child care or utility service.


Changing Lives: Power Line Worker Program makes a difference

Julie Thompson Manning was concerned about her youngest son, Charlie. Coming out of high school in Midlothian, Va., he was still looking for the right path to follow. His one passion was climbing, whether it was on an indoor rock wall or with friends in the West Virginia mountains.

The answer came in the mailbox.

A 2018 feature story on the Gaff-n-Go Lineworkers’ Rodeo in Cooperative Living caught the eye of Manning, whose family had recently moved to Southside Electric Cooperative territory in Powhatan.

“This would be perfect for Charlie. He could climb for a living. Yes, he would have to be interested in this!” Manning recalls thinking.

Manning invited her son to lunch — “food is a great motivator,” she notes. She showed him a video about the Power Line Working Training School at Southside Virginia Community College, a program created with the help of electric cooperatives in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.

Two weeks later, he asked for contact information and enrolled in the 11-week course that provides a foundation for a career in the electric lineworker industry. He excelled at the school and was employed even before graduation day.

“Can you imagine the joy I felt?” his mother asks, saying her son has a career he loves. “This all came from a move to the country, from a magazine that happened to be in my mailbox, to a picture of a man on a pole, to a shared lunch, to a video that changed a life forever.”

Today, Charlie, 21, works for the city of Estes Park, Colo., where he can climb the Rockies and utility poles to his heart’s content. His mom gives a big shoutout to SVCC for helping a boy become a man.

“He tells me often how much the people of Estes Park admire the lineworkers and all they do to keep the electricity flowing in their mountain city,” Manning says.

Want to motivate your son or daughter similarly? Check out southside.edu/.
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MAKING A SPLASH. Christina Edwards of Woodford, a Rappahannock Electric Cooperative member, sent us this photo. “COVID-19 hasn't kept my four-year-old grandson, Connor James, from enjoying summer!“ she wrote.

How are you enjoying your summer? Got any photos you’d like to share with us? Send them to [email protected]
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STAR POOCH. Ruckus had a great Fourth of July! Did you? Thanks for sharing this photo, Amanda McLellan!

If you’d like to share your favorite July Fourth photos with us for consideration in next year’s Say Cheese column, you can share them in the comments below or by emailing them to [email protected]
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4201 Dominion Blvd.
Glen Allen, Virginia 23060
804-346-3344
www.vmdaec.com
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