Powering lives, empowering communities
Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives are not-for-profit utilities that bring power to more than 523,000 Oklahomans plus over 125,000 consumers in Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Texas. We serve 93% of Oklahoma’s landmass, providing service in all of Oklahoma’s 77 counties.
Electric co-ops are owned by the people they serve. Member-elected boards represent the interests of the membership and set policy and procedures for the co-op. Cooperatives serve members instead of shareholders. They distribute and sell energy to members at cost and invest excess revenues back into the electric system or distribute excess revenue to consumers in the form of patronage capital. Electric co-ops work to improve the quality of life in our rural and suburban communities. We do this through the delivery of safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy as well as efforts in education and community development. Co-ops operate with seven core cooperative principles.
Electric co-ops are owned by the people they serve. Member-elected boards represent the interests of the membership and set policy and procedures for the co-op.
Not for profit
Co-ops serve communities instead of shareholders. We distribute and sell energy to our members at cost and invest excess revenues back into the electric system.
Electric co-ops work to improve the quality of life in our rural and suburban communities. We do this through the delivery of safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy as well as efforts in education and community development.
The Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives (OAEC) is a statewide association created and voluntarily supported by local electric distribution and generation & transmission cooperatives. OAEC is comprised of 30 member systems: 27 distribution electric cooperatives (two of which are headquartered in Arkansas) and 3 generation & transmission electric cooperatives (one of which is headquartered in Texas).
As late as the mid-1930s, nine out of 10 rural homes were without electric service. The farmer milked his cows by hand in the dim light of a kerosene lantern. His wife was a slave to the wood range and washboard. The unavailability of electricity in rural areas kept their economies entirely and exclusively dependent on agriculture. Factories and businesses, of course, preferred to locate in cities where electric power was easily acquired. For many years, investor-owned power companies ignored the rural areas of the nation.
It was then that farmers and ranchers banded together to bring themselves the gift of electricity. The idea of providing federal assistance to accomplish rural electrification gained ground rapidly when President Roosevelt took office in 1933. On May 11, 1935, Roosevelt signed Executive Order No. 7037 establishing the Rural Electrification Administration (REA). It was not until a year later that the Rural Electrification Act was passed and the lending program that became the REA got underway. In 1937, the REA drafted the Electric Cooperative Corporation Act, a model law that states could adopt to enable the formation and operation of not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives.
The first distribution electric cooperative in Oklahoma was established in 1936, it’s Cimarron Electric Cooperative based in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. The last distribution electric cooperative established in our state was Lake Region Electric Cooperative, which was founded in 1949 in Hulbert, Oklahoma.
In 1942, electric cooperatives of Oklahoma formed the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives to serve as a unified voice for electric co-ops and to collectively perform services which would not be economical or practical for each individual cooperative to perform alone.