Cooperatives Enabling Energy Access In Rural Communities

Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Rural Electrification Administration in 1935 to address the lack of access to electricity in nine of ten households in rural America in the 1930s. Electric cooperatives were born out of Roosevelt’s leadership and action, and quickly became the primary vehicle for enabling energy access in rural communities, eventually going well beyond basic electricity service. Today, the nation’s electric cooperatives continue to level the playing field for rural communities by offering energy services, high-speed internet access, and a wide array of other programs designed to create choice and opportunity within their communities.

NRECA’s Advancing Energy Access for All initiative spotlights cooperatives' involvement in facilitating healthy communities, explores the innovative ways they do it, and uncovers new directions community assistance programs are taking. Advancing Energy Access for All helps ensure rural communities are not left behind and is also an essential element of every cooperative’s existence.

Goals of This Initiative

NRECA's Advancing Energy Access for All will create a sustainable practice around supporting member cooperatives as they holistically serve their members, especially those who struggle to pay their bills and other families in need. Our collective activities will:

  • Inform and educate NRECA member cooperatives on challenges and opportunities;
  • Support community enhancements through member engagement;
  • Advocate on behalf of NRECA member cooperatives on new/innovative programs that address member needs;
  • Identify and help establish partnerships to advance community solutions for NRECA members; and,
  • Build a community of interest to share best practices and lessons learned from member cooperatives.

By taking an active leadership role in this important area, NRECA and our member cooperatives can leverage the experiences, successes, and shortcomings of programs to scale right-sized, innovative solutions to help advance "Energy Access for All" across America.


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