October set aside to honor 41 co-ops in Iowa
Join East-Central Iowa REC in celebrating cooperatives in Iowa and across America during National Cooperative Month.
Every October, cooperatives are recognized for the qualities that make the business model unique: local democratic control, commitment to supporting the communities they serve and improving quality of life, special benefits and services, and the return of margins (the co-op term for profits) back to members in the form of capital credits.
“Cooperatives are special,” said Lisa Franck, ECI REC manager of communications. “We have an obligation to provide reliable, affordable, and safe electricity, but we take that a step further. We also have a responsibility to support our members, enrich schools, and enhance our communities.
“We’re especially excited to honor Cooperative month this year, as ECI REC celebrates the 75th anniversary of one of our parent cooperatives, Buchanan County Rural Electric Cooperative,” continued Franck. “From two small groups of farmers to a Cooperative that serves over 6,700 accounts—commercial and residential as well as agricultural—East-Central Iowa REC has come a long way.” ECI REC celebrated the 75th anniversary of Benton County Electric Cooperative Association, its other parent cooperative, last year.
ECI REC is proud to be part of America’s cooperative network, which employs more than 850,000 people. Across the nation, 29,000 co-ops and credit unions generate $74 billion in annual wages and nearly $500 billion in revenue. Cooperation thrives in Iowa, with more than 458 co-ops serving over 1.37 million members, notes the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Cooperation. Iowa’s co-op economy employs 13,730 people, and nationally more than 2.1 million jobs are supported by co-ops. ECI REC is one of more than 900 electric cooperatives, public utility districts, and public power districts serving 42 million people in 47 states.
“Electric cooperatives were formed because rural communities were struggling for lack of investment,” Franck explained. “Neighbors banded together and lit up the countryside when no one else would. That’s what we celebrate each October.”
Today, ECI REC employs nearly 40 people and has service areas in 11 counties (Benton, Buchanan, Fayette, Bremer, Black Hawk, Linn, Delaware, Clayton, Tama, Iowa, and Johnson). ECI REC remains committed to the values on which it was founded: a commitment to local communities, a belief in the value of cooperative effort, and a dedication to bringing reliable electricity to member-consumers.
In addition to cooperative utilities, Iowa residents are served cooperatively by credit unions, food co-ops, agricultural co-ops, and more! To learn more about co-ops and find one near you, visit go.coop.