Electric Co-ops Explained

Arizona G&T Cooperatives are owned by the members we serve. Our members include six electric distribution cooperatives that distribute electric power to their own residential and commercial consumers at the end of the line.

Rural electric co-ops were first established in the 1930s to bring electricity to rural areas that for-profit utilities refused to serve. Leaders adopted a cooperative business model where customers are owners. Co-op members elect their neighbors to serve on co-op board of directors, and the directors hire a manager to operate the co-op on a day-to-day basis.

By the 1950s, local distribution co-ops outgrew their ability to meet the growing energy needs of their members. They formed their own power generation and transmission (G&T) cooperatives. Four Arizona electric co-ops formed AEPCO (now Arizona Generation and Transmission Cooperatives) in 1961.

Today, distribution coop directors continue to elect directors to serve on G&T boards. Members, directors and employees remain committed to the system’s original goal of delivering reliable, affordable electricity to rural America. Most co-op profits are returned to members. This contrasts with investor-owned utilities, which return profits to stockholders.

All cooperatives are guided by Seven Cooperative Principles.

Electric Co-op Members Mike and Patty Fagan, owners of the Horseshoe Café in Benson, use the power generated from the Apache Generating Station. They are members of Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Co-op.


Appalonia Garcia, a member of Duncan Valley Electric Co-op, uses power generated at Apache Generating Station. Electric Co-op members