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Links & Resources : Alberta REAs
The Rural Electrification Association (REA) Model
Alberta REAs were modeled after electric co-operatives to the south. In the United States, Rural Electric Co-operatives came into existence in 1935, when President Roosevelt established the Rural Electrification Administration, which provided for funding and established designated territories within which the electric co-operatives would serve. Currently U.S. Electric Co-operatives serve 42 million people and 18.5 million businesses, homes,schools, chruches, farms, irrigation systems and other establishments in 2,500 of the 3,141 counties in the U.S. World-wide electric co-operatives exist in countries like France, the UK, Spain, Argentina, and the Phillipines to name a few.
In Alberta, there are two types of REAs - ones that self-operate, like Lakeland REA, and others who use Investor-Owned Utility (IOU) companies to assume to role of distribution system operator for that respective REA. All REAs are considered co-operatives.
Self-operating REAs are a true example of the electric co-oeprative. They operate under co-operative business principles and are responsive to member needs (through their elected Board of Directors), maintain and safe-guard the members' asset (the distribution system) with dedicated staff, and provide services for the best rates possible, as REAs do not generate profits for stockholders like IOUs.
In Alberta, self -operating REAs serve close to 28,000 rural services and maintain offices and staff to effectively and effficiently operate and maintain the REA distribution systems.