Benton REA – Benton and Yakima Counties
Benton REA has provided the people of Benton and Yakima counties with high-quality, reliable service since 1937. With 10,555 members, Benton REA continuously develops member-driven programs and services, such as the Member Power Program – a grassroots organization of Benton REA members who have the opportunity to make their voices heard in an effort to keep power affordable and reliable in the region. Benton REA is part owner of a landfill generation project, producing clean and reliable power. Additionally, their PowerNET provides wireless broadband Internet service to rural areas, and works with school districts and businesses to improve their computer networks.
Big Bend Electric Cooperative – Adams and Franklin Counties
Big Bend was formed in 1939 to bring electricity to rural Adams and Franklin counties in Eastern Washington. From its humble beginning, Big Bend has grown into a financially sound cooperative serving the needs of its 8,694 members. About 60% of the electricity used by Big Bend members is for agricultural purposes. The remaining 40% is for residential accounts and a variety of business accounts. Because the economy in Big Bend’s service area is heavily dependant on agriculture, the federal hydro system is vital to Big Bend’s members. The federal hydro system provides water for irrigation, transportation for products, and low-cost power provided by the Bonneville Power Administration.
Columbia REA – Columbia and Walla Walla, Washington, and Umatilla County, Oregon
Coumbia REA was formed in 1939 in Dayton, Washington – the gateway to the beautiful Blue Mountains. Today, Columbia REA is a progressive, strategically focused, member-owned electric cooperative that serves 4,600 customers in the south-eastern corner of Washington. Columbia serves most of the new subdivisions in the Walla Walla area, as well as Walmart, the Home Depot, and other retailers. They also serve Walla Walla University, in addition to significant irrigation loads that make up a sizable percentage of the cooperative’s kilowatt-hour sales.
Elmhurst Mutual Power & Light – Parkland and Spanaway
Elmhurst Mutual Power & Light was founded in March 1922 by neighbors living in the Brookdale area who contracted to buy power from Tacoma City Light. Elmhurst built its own distribution lines, and from that humble beginning has grown to include five substations and 13,935 customers. Elmhurst has purchased its power exclusively from the Bonneville Power Administration since 1975, and consistently provides its members with low-cost, quality service.
Inland Power and Light Co. – 13 Couties in Spokane Area, WA and Northern Idaho
The largest Washington electric cooperative, Inland Power and Light serves 38,770 members along the Eastern Washington and Idaho border counties. Inland opened in 1937 as a result of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Federal Power Porgram. At its opening, Inland served a mere 160 farms north of Spokane; now they have over 7,571 miles of distribution line and 97 employees.
Lakeview Light & Power – Tacoma
The Lakeview Light & Water Company was incorporated March 21, 1922 as a mutual non-profit company for the purpose of obtaining electric service for its members. This corporation was formed because a few forward looking families wanted to make things better for their community. Today Lakeview has 2,350 members and serves in excess of 9,800 meters. Lakeview Light & Power continues today the commitment of its founders to serve its members at the lowest possible cost by means of a reliable electrical distribution system.
Modern Electric Water Co. – Spokane Valley
Modern Electric Water Company (MEWCO) is a customer owned not-for profit corporation, engaged in providing high quality, economical electric and water utility services for the benefit of residents and businesses in the Spokane Valley for more than 100 years. The company provides electricity services to almost 10,000 customers and water services to 6,000 customers. MEWCO caters its services to residential, commercial and light industrial customers. Further, the company purchases 100% of the power it sells from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA).
Nespelem Valley Electric Co-op – Southeastern Okanogan County
Before the Rural Electrification Act, tiny communities such as Nespelem, Elmer City, Lone Pine, Belvedere, Disautal, Cameron Lakes, and others were in the dark. Nespelem Valley Electric Cooperative serves the western area of the Colville Indian Reservation in Southeastern Okanogan County – areas no other utility would serve. Almost half of their cooperative members are members of the Colville Confederated Tribes. Founded in 1939, NVEC began operations as one of the Bonneville Power Administration’s first customers in 1941. It had 34 miles of line and 140 consumers. Today, NVEC has 403 miles of line and serves 1,563 customers.
Ohop Mutual Light Co. – Ohop Valley Area
Ohop Mutual energized fewer than 20 miles of line in 1921 to serve a dozen or so farms around the Ohop Valley. Today, Ohop Mutual serves 4,188 customers across 420 miles of line in cities like Eatonville, Roy, and Graham. Ohop is a full-requirements, preference customer of the Bonneville Power Administration. Low customer density combined with high tree density challenges Ohop Mutual to provide relaible service at a reasonable cost.
Okanogan County Electric Co-op – Methow Valley Area
Okanogan County Electric Co-op serves the beautiful Methow (pronounced met-how) Valley, the towns of Winthrop, Mazama, and areas surrounding the town of Twisp. Located in the North Cascade Mountains, the deep winter snows add to the challenge of serving this rural area. Okanogan County Electric Co-op currently has 500 miles of line in place, and in 1999 they added propane distribution to better serve their members’ energy needs.
Orcas Power & Light Cooperative – San Juan County
Founded in 1937, Orcas Power & LIght Cooperative provides reliable service to 20 islands in San Juan County. OPALCO serves 11,075 members through 13,538 accounts. Their main challenge is installing and maintaining submarine cables and an underground distribution system; more than 80% of OPALCO’s distribution system is underground. OPALCO is committed to energy efficiency and has a robust interconnection program. More than 70 members generate their own local renewable energy and are interconnected to their system mostly through net metering and buy-sell arrangements.
Parkland Light & Water Co. – Parkland Area
Parkland Light and Water Co. is the nation’s oldest mutual utility, established February 17, 1914. Pacific Lutheran University forefathers and a community of forward thinking homemakers inspired the idea of the mutual; they had been around cooperatives in their native Scandinavian countries and wanted to bring the idea west. The first manager (E.B. Ellingson) guided the volunteer home owners who set poles and strung wire to bring in power, and dug ditches and installed open flumes to bring water to Parkland. They Currently serve 4,345 electric members on 89 miles of line.
Tanner Electric Cooperative – North Bend Area
Tanner Electric was founded in 1936 as Mutual Power and Light Association of Tanner by the rural members who lived along Edgewick Road, southeast of the city of North Bend. By the end of 1937 the cooperative had its first 32 customers; it purchased 6,000 kilowatt hours from Seattle City Light’s Cedar Falls Plant. Since then, Tanner Electric has experienced quite a few changes, and now has 4,462 customer accounts that are both residential and commercial.