BUILDING A COMMUNITY-DRIVEN NETWORK
White River Valley Electric Cooperative (WRVEC) origins are traced back to 1935 when the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) was created. This New Deal agency was created to bring the same comforts to rural Americans – like electric lights to extend the day and electric motors to ease the daily workload – that city residents enjoyed.
While there was a strong desire for rural electricity, the means were elusive. Vast distances between members made stringing lines and setting poles costly. Electric utilities saw little, if any, opportunity for profit.
The Rural Electrification Administration (REA) opened the door for electricity in rural America through electric cooperatives – private partnerships owned and controlled by the people they serve. By the end of 1936 nearly 100 electric cooperatives had formed in 26 states. Today, 1,000 electric cooperatives in 47 states serve 37 million Americans, or 10 percent of the population. Electric cooperatives maintain nearly half of all distribution lines across the country.
WRVEC first flipped the switch in 1939, bringing 505 members into the modern age of electricity. Since then, WRVEC’s service area has grown to cover 2,500+ square miles across five counties in Southwest Missouri. The cooperative has 44,000+ member meters and 5,300+ miles of energized line.
Providing electricity was the founding goal for WRVEC. Today, our advanced power system is an asset for the communities we serve. The not-for-profit, member system connects people in a shared mission of protecting and promoting a valuable community asset — one of America’s most successful advanced electrical power networks.
Electric cooperatives, such as White River Valley Electric Cooperative (WRVEC), are member businesses, established to supply electricity to their members.
Electric cooperatives are owned by the people, or members, who use the power the co-op provides. Electric cooperatives worldwide abide by core principles, including:
- Voluntary & Open Membership
- Democratic Member Control
- Member Economic Participation
- Autonomy & Independence
- Education, Training & Information
- Cooperation Among Cooperatives
- Concern for Community
Electric cooperatives operate on a not-for-profit basis. That means that 85% or more of the cooperative’s annual income must be used for the sole purpose of meeting losses and expenses.
The Cooperative pays for things like power generation, maintenance and operations. The money left over after those bills are paid each year is called a margin. Margins provide equity for the Cooperative and are assigned to the members through capital credits.
White River is owned by its members and governed by a board of directors. Members nominate and elect nine (9) representatives to the Board of Directors. Each board member is serving in a representative capacity for their respective districts as set forth in the bylaws. Directors have a unique position within the corporate structure and owe a high degree of fidelity, confidentiality and loyalty to the Cooperative while serving their represented members.
All members are asked to participate in an annual membership meeting, at which board members are elected.
In October of 1999, White River Valley Electric Cooperative (WRVEC) joined Touchstone Energy, a national alliance of local, member electric cooperatives. Touchstone currently has more than 640 cooperatives in 46 states, delivering energy solutions to more than 30 million members every day.
WRVEC enjoys certain benefits as a Touchstone Energy cooperative, including:
- Reduced product cost due to economies of scale
- Education programs for employees for superior member service
- Business and residential enhancement programs
- Communication materials for member outreach
- Partnership opportunities for community benefit
Touchstone Energy cooperatives serve their members with integrity, accountability, innovation, and a longstanding commitment to community. These core values align with WRVEC’s and are brought to life in electric service that is among the most reliable, affordable, and efficient in the country.