Whether you’re a new member-owner of Access Energy Cooperative or you’ve been with us for decades, you know that electric cooperatives are unique. We make a habit of sharing this information because we’re proud of what it means to the members-owners we serve and the communities in which we live and work.
We don’t take for granted what it means to be different from other electric providers. We appreciate and embrace our differences because it means we can serve our member-owners in a manner that best meets your needs. While there are dozens of ways electric cooperatives differ from other utilities, everything we do revolves around our unique business model and our local, not-for-profit structure.
We’re locally owned by the members we serve and governed by an elected board of directors who are member-owners of the cooperative. Committed to powering lives and empowering communities, electric co-ops have been guided by seven core principles since the beginning. You’ll see these principles demonstrated in everything we do.
- Voluntary and Open Membership
- Democratic Member Control
- Members’ Economic Participation
- Autonomy and Independence
- Education, Training, and Information
- Cooperation Among Cooperatives
- Concern for Community
Iowa’s not-for-profit electric cooperatives power the lives of 650,000 Iowans throughout all 99 counties and are committed to delivering power that is safe, reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible. Serving primarily rural areas of the state, Iowa’s co-ops own and maintain enough power lines to wrap around the equator two and a half times!
Because we serve primarily rural areas with sparse populations, we literally cover more ground than other types of utilities. In fact, 80% of Iowa’s land mass is served by electric cooperatives. While investor-owned utilities in Iowa serve 27 meters and generate $72,600 of revenue per mile of line on average, electric co-ops serve 4 meters and generate $10,700 of revenue per mile of line on average. Iowa municipalities average 54 meters per mile and generate $129,000 of revenue per mile of line.
These realities mean that Iowa’s electric cooperatives must maintain more infrastructure with less revenue per mile compared to other electric utilities in the state. Because of our not-for-profit structure, our rates and fees are designed to recover costs only. We don’t seek to make a profit on the services we provide. When we do have excess capital, it’s reinvested into our systems and returned to our member-owners in the form of patronage.
To achieve economies of scale with services and to collaborate on issues that are important to the cooperative business structure and member-owners at every point on co-op lines, Access Energy Cooperative is a member of the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives. We’re proud that our association is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. In the coming months, we look forward to sharing more details of the many ways electric cooperatives are powering and improving the lives of Iowans!