Arizona G&T Cooperatives Creates Jobs, Sustains Economies

Economist says the cooperatives produce more jobs than other industries


For Immediate Release

April 2, 2020


Geoff Oldfather, (520) 586-5465, C: (520) 444-3473,

J.D. Wallace, (520) 586-5157, C: (520) 235-4203,


BENSON – Arizona’s electric cooperatives are important drivers of their local economies and the communities they serve, says an economist who specializes in studying rural economies.

Dr. Robert Carreira, president and chief economist of US Economic Research, spoke to communicators from Arizona’s electric cooperatives on February 20 at the Tempe headquarters of Grand Canyon State Electric Cooperative Association.

Carreira drew on Economic Impact Studies that focused on Arizona G&T Cooperatives’ economic contributions to southern Arizona. One thing that stood out: The number of indirect jobs—jobs with other employers—created by economic contributions of Arizona G&T Cooperatives.

“For wholesale electricity, at least in southeastern Arizona, the multiplier is about twice what it is for the average industry,” Carreira said. “For each job in the average industry in southern Arizona, there’s about 0.6 jobs created. For Arizona G&T, it’s about 1.3 additional jobs. So for every one direct job that Arizona G&T provides, 2.3 jobs are provided in the local economy. That’s significant.”

The positive impacts don’t end with jobs, Carreira said, citing the multiplier effect of every dollar spent by Arizona G&T and its employees. “When Arizona G&T spends money at other businesses, part of that money becomes income for other workers, supporting and creating jobs in those industries,” he said.

It’s the same for households, he added. “When Arizona G&T employees buy groceries, pay rent, buy houses and spend money on everything, a portion of that money becomes income for other households, and that creates jobs as well.”

Key findings from Carreira’s study include:

  • AzGT provides 217 direct jobs.
  • Annually since 2018, Arizona G&T Cooperatives generated $244.8 million in annual economic activity (spending/sales) in rural southeastern Arizona, which includes $38.1 million in associated household earnings supporting 499 jobs region-wide.


About Arizona G&T Cooperatives

Arizona Electric Power Cooperative (AEPCO) and Sierra Southwest (Sierra) together comprise the Arizona G&T Cooperatives ( AEPCO owns and operates the 605-megawatt (combined gross) Apache Generating Station, located at Cochise, east of Benson. AEPCO also owns, operates and maintains 829 miles of electric power transmission line—including line owned in part with other utilities— and 27 substations to provide wholesale electric power from Apache to six member distribution cooperatives in southern Arizona, western New Mexico, northwestern Arizona and California.

Sierra is the vehicle to develop new ways to serve the renewable energy needs of our Member cooperatives and customers, and helps maximize solar and other renewable tax credits that are available. Sierra has initiated two utility scale solar projects; the 20 MW Apache Solar project on AEPCO property adjacent to and northeast of AGS, and SunAnza, the 2 MW solar array adjacent to the Anza EC headquarters in Anza, California.

Combined, the distribution cooperatives that receive AEPCO’s wholesale power serve more than 161,000 meters representing more than 420,000 individual residential, commercial, agricultural, and industrial member/consumers.

The Class A member cooperatives that receive wholesale power from AEPCO include Duncan Valley Electric Cooperative, Duncan; Graham County Electric Cooperative, Pima; Mohave Electric Cooperative, Bullhead City; Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, Willcox; Trico Electric Cooperative, Marana; and our California member, Anza Electric Cooperative, Anza, California.

These member cooperatives own the AzGT and, by extension, the G&T Cooperatives are owned by their members—the people at the end of the line who use the power.