The Cooperative Difference

A cooperative enterprise is owned by the people who use its services; the members control its operations; it is operated on a not-for-profit basis; and its gains are distributed to the members in proportion to their participation. It exists for the members’ benefit. Its members have a voice in how the cooperative is operated, and they share this voice equally.

Your Membership Matters

As a member of The Energy Cooperative, you have a say. You elect the board members who manage the business and affairs of the cooperative. The board sets policies for the Cooperative and appoints the president/chief executive officer, who oversees the management and staff. You can also attend the annual meeting of the Cooperative and vote on matters that affect the company. You are not just a consumer of The Energy Cooperative, you are a member.

Why Were Cooperatives Formed?

By the mid-1930s, almost every urban area in the United States had electric service. In rural areas, only 10 percent of people had electricity, and investor-owned utilities could not cost justify building miles of line to service only a few consumers. Today, Ohio’s electric cooperatives serve nearly 380,000 homes and businesses in Ohio and there are nearly 900 rural electric cooperatives across the nation serving 42 million consumer-members.

History of Your Cooperative

In 1936, a group of farmers in Licking and Knox counties decided to take advantage of a federal program offered by the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) by forming an electric cooperative known as Licking Rural Electrification (LRE). At inception, five people were employed to service 410 members and 143 miles of electric line. The George Conrad Farm on Smoketown Road was the first member-owner energized. For 40 years, the office was located one mile south of Utica, Ohio, on State Route 13 and was built in 1959. In 1998, LRE moved the headquarters to Newark, Ohio.

In 1998, LRE acquired National Gas & Oil Company and its subsidiaries, National Gas & Oil Corp., Producers Gas Sales, NGO Development Corp., and NGO Propane. The Energy Cooperative (TEC) is the trade name used by LRE and its subsidiaries, which operate as separate corporations.