Rural electric cooperatives in Virginia

Rural electric cooperatives are non-profit electric utilities. Unlike the big investor-owned utilities, rural electric cooperatives (also called “electric co-ops”) are owned by member-owners, the customers whose electricity they provide.

Learn the basics


Members of the Shenandoah Valley Rural Electric Cooperative meet with cooperative leadership to fight for more solar.

Virginia’s rural electric cooperatives

Virginia is home to 13 rural electric cooperatives. More than one in six Virginians get their electricity from an electric cooperative. Unfortunately, many cooperative members don’t know they are owners of their electric company or that they have a say in its governance. As a result, many rural electric cooperatives are still controlled by insiders who favor the status quo. Too many rural electric cooperatives still heavily rely on coal-fired power and see renewable energy as a threat to their customer base, rather than an opportunity for their members.

Source – Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives.

Customers own rural electric cooperatives. As such, they are supposed to be responsive to members’ concerns. Each member-owner has one vote in board of director elections. The democratic structure of electric cooperatives allows them to change their energy policies if their member-owners demand it. More than one in six Virginians get their electricity from an electric cooperative, meaning that more than one in six Virginians is a member-owner of a rural electric co-op. As such, there is a tremendous opportunity to mobilize Virginia’s co-op members to fight for solar.

Take Action

Solar United Neighbors of Virginia is supporting Repower REC, a grassroots coalition of concerned Rappahannock Electric Cooperative members and partners seeking to bring democracy and transparency back to their rural electric cooperative. If you are an REC member-owner, you can join the coalition today!

Join the Repower REC coalition!

Help us democratize the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative by joining the Repower REC campaign today!
Take action!

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