The Minnesota Rural Electric Association (MREA) is a service organization for Minnesota's electric utility cooperatives. MREA provides service and leadership including safety training, legislative research and lobbying, and industry education programs. A fourteen member board representing electric co-ops across the state governs MREA. Contact Us
MREA's members, forty-four electric distribution cooperatives and six generation and transmission (G&T) co-ops in Minnesota, serve 741,000 customer meters or about 1.8 million people, covering 85 percent of the geographic area of the state. These cooperatives are locally-owned and operated by boards of directors, who are elected by the consumer-members they serve and operate according to the seven cooperative principles. The cooperatives seek to provide electric energy to rural consumers at the lowest possible cost consistent with sound management. They also promote and fund economic development initiatives to create jobs and maintain a high standard of living for rural and suburban Minnesota residents.
Minnesota's electric co-ops own and maintain more than 122,000 miles of distribution line, averaging 6 consumers per mile of line. About 92 percent of electric co-op consumer/members are farm and non-farm residential.
Minnesota co-ops range in size from 2,000 to 122,000 consumers, with a median size of 6,424. They sell approximately 14 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, which represents about 18 percent of the state's total kWh sold and about $1.1 billion in revenue. Electric co-ops employ about 2,400 people in Minnesota.
Power plants serving Minnesota's electric co-ops are among the most efficient in the country. Abiding by conservation statutes, Minnesota co-ops spend more than the required amount of their annual gross operating revenues on energy conservation and load management programs. The load management program controls more than 500 MW of energy use, the equivalent of operating one less large power plant. As the first Minnesota electric utilities to offer customers a wind energy choice in 1998, cooperatives actively build new renewable energy facilities in the state.
Most of MREA’s member co-ops conduct local charitable programs for energy assistance, weatherization and other community projects. Working in joint community endeavors, 33 electric co-ops have provided over $22 million in rural economic development funding for projects such as telecommunications infrastructure and ethanol plants.
(Updated 4/15/09 - 2008 Data)
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