Category Archives: Member-owner cooperatives

$25 million to members: Great River Energy returns patronage capital

Electric cooperatives aren’t like other utilities. The members are not only customers, they own a portion of the business. Great River Energy is owned by 28 distribution cooperatives. Cooperatives operate at cost, only collecting enough revenue to run the business. When there’s excess revenue collected, it’s returned to members through patronage capital payments. That’s what […]

New wire provides reliability when it matters most

Imagine an electric system so resilient it can withstand 94 mile-per-hour winds, ice and severe weather to keep electricity reliable during even the worst storm. Great River Energy is piloting such a project in Federated Rural Electric Association’s service territory. The southwest part of Minnesota, where Federated Rural Electric Association is located, is the area […]

Co-ops restore power to thousands after blizzard

While the blizzard that hit Minnesota the night before Christmas Eve did little to damage Great River Energy’s transmission system, transmission partners that serve its member-owner cooperatives were not as lucky. “The blizzard caused damage to transmission facilities owned by other utilities, which left 11 of our members’ substations without power for sustained periods,” said […]

Member Moment: Connexus Energy

“Member Moment” highlights one of Great River Energy’s member-owner cooperatives and how it uniquely demonstrates what it means to be a cooperative. Connexus Energy, the largest member-owned utility in Minnesota, has served its communities since 1937 when a group of residents formed the Anoka County Cooperative Light and Power Association and brought electricity to the […]

Member Moment: Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association

“Member Moment” highlights one of Great River Energy’s member-owner cooperatives and how it uniquely demonstrates what it means to be a cooperative. Since 1937, Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association (WH) has powered rural Wright County and western Hennepin County. The cooperative provides not only electric service, but also shares safety messages, contributes to local nonprofits and […]

Connexus Energy uses data to boost reliability

 Nearly all Great River Energy’s member-owner cooperatives have either installed advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) or have a plan to do so. For those who have completed their installations, the focus now turns to getting the most out of the data their new systems provide. “AMI implementation was a significant financial investment,” said Alex Skelton, data […]

Lake Country Power names Bakk as general manager

The Lake Country Power (LCP) board of directors recently named Mark Bakk as general manager of the 43,000-member rural electric cooperative that serves northeastern Minnesota. Bakk will be charged with the responsibility to lead the not-for-profit utility on its mission to deliver safe and reliable electric service, manage member resources wisely, and serve to help […]

Member Moment: South Central Electric Association

“Member Moment” highlights one of Great River Energy’s member-owner cooperatives and how it uniquely demonstrates what it means to be a cooperative. This month’s featured member-owner cooperative served an entirely rural area with no towns, stores or even a gas station until 2015. That year, South Central Electric Association (SCE) gained nine small communities when […]

Runestone names Haman CEO

The Runestone Electric Association (REA) board of directors recently named Al Haman as chief executive officer. Haman has served as interim CEO of the Alexandria, Minnesota-based electric cooperative since March. In addition to his new position, he will continue to oversee operations and engineering, a role he has performed since 2008. “The board is delighted […]

Co-ops get $3.1B in USDA loans to improve systems

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently approved $3.1 billion in rural infrastructure loans for 45 electric cooperatives — two of which are Great River Energy member-owner cooperatives — that will improve service to more than 1.4 million homes and businesses. The Rural Utilities Service loans and loan guarantees will go to projects in 25 […]