The Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives (IAEC) represents the interests of not-for-profit electric cooperatives, including 34 distribution co-ops and 8 generation & transmission co-ops, which power the lives of 650,000 Iowans. Iowa's electric cooperatives are committed to delivering power that is safe, reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible for their member-owners.
Iowa's farmers banded together to form rural electric cooperatives in the 1930's when investor-owned utilities refused to provide affordable service to most rural areas. These pioneering men and women borrowed start-up money from the Federal Rural Electrification Administration (REA), which was created in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and formed electric cooperatives across the rural landscape. Formed by Iowa's rural electric cooperatives in 1942, IAEC provides many vital functions for its members, including:
- legislative representation at the state and national levels
- safety programs, demonstrations and campaigns
- programs encouraging energy efficiency
- education and training programs
- communication resources and services
- youth activities
- a statewide disaster plan to help restore power quickly and safely during emergencies
- review and monitoring of utility regulations
- Living with Energy in Iowa, a monthly magazine specifically for Iowans on co-op lines
Iowa's rural electric cooperatives are part of a national network of 900 electric cooperatives. These not-for-profit utilities, which serve 42 million Americans in 47 states, work together through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association a Washington, D.C.-based service organization formed in 1942. Owned by the members they serve, cooperatives adhere to the seven cooperative principles which provide guidance and direction. IAEC and most of its member co-ops are also affiliated with Touchstone Energy, the nationwide cooperative brand network championing the cause for affordable, democratically governed energy.
Rural electric cooperatives offer more than reliable, affordable electric service; they also work to improve quality of life through community support. The cooperative-supported Iowa Area Development Group is committed to economic growth in rural Iowa and many co-ops offer satellite and broadband services to member-owners. Co-ops help member-owners use energy wisely through energy efficiency programs and incentives.