Access to affordable and reliable electricity is critically important to Colorado’s rural communities. For over 75 years, Colorado’s electric co-ops have been providing the power needed to run homes, farms and businesses all across the state.
The Colorado Rural Electric Association supports the mission of Colorado’s electric co-ops by providing essential services like government relations, communications, education and safety training. “CREA doesn’t produce electricity,” says Kent Singer, CREA’s executive director, “but we provide services that help our members keep the lights on in the most efficient and affordable way.”
While other electric utilities provide service in the urban parts of the state, Colorado’s electric co-ops serve primarily the rural parts of Colorado. In all, electric co-ops provide electricity to over 70 percent of Colorado’s landmass but only about 20 percent of the state’s electricity consumers. This means that co-ops have about seven consumers per mile of distribution line while investor-owned and municipal electric utilities have about 35 to 45 consumers per mile of line. Co-ops were created to provide electricity in areas that no other utility was willing to serve.
Today’s electric co-ops are, according to Singer, “the hearts and souls of their communities. They not only provide electricity to run farms and homes, they also provide great jobs, support many charitable causes, and award scholarships to local high school kids.”
Colorado’s electric co-ops are also adopting the latest technologies to respond to a changing industry landscape. “Our co-ops are working at a fast pace to install automated metering systems, deploy renewable energy facilities and encourage the efficient use of electricity,” Singer says. “Every day, co-ops across the state are deploying technologies and adopting policies that are responsive to the members they serve. The bottom line is that Colorado’s electric co-ops are always looking for new ways to improve the lives of folks living in rural Colorado.”