For 50 years, Associated Electric Cooperative Incorporated has been providing wholesale power to more than 875,000 rural customers. Click to hear KMZU’s Chelsea Wade talk with spokesperson Nancy Southworth:

Nancy Southworth

Press release from Associated Electric Cooperative Incorporated

SPRINGFIELD, MO. – Associated Electric Cooperative Inc. recognized its 50th year of providing reliable and the lowest-cost wholesale power possible to member cooperatives this week at its annual meeting in Branson, June 27-29.

About 830 managers and boards of directors from generation and transmission and distribution cooperatives within the AECI system attended the event, listened to presenters and their perspectives of the energy industry, conducted the annual business meeting and elected directors to AECI’s board of directors.

The meeting informed members of issues facing the cooperative and the industry. Nuclear as a potential future option for power supply; political issues affecting cooperatives, such as uncertainty about carbon legislation and regulation; AECI’s early compliance meeting mercury air emissions reduction standards using breakthrough technology; and effective communications to keep members informed and involved were among the topics presented.

In addition to providing perspectives on what the industry’s future may hold for AECI, this year’s meeting also celebrated the last 50 years of its history and growth.

Past AECI board presidents, general manager and employees also were in attendance and credited with making tough decisions during the early years of AECI’s growth, from 1961 to 1985. The challenging business decisions, however, ultimately set the stage for 20 years without any wholesale electric rate increases to member systems.

“I’m convinced the reason we have seen so much growth and success over the past 50 years, and why we’re positioned so well for meeting members’ needs in the future, is the unity that flows through our unique, three-tiered system,” said Jim Jura, AECI CEO and general manager.

Incorporated in 1961 as part of a three-tiered cooperative system, AECI is owned by six regional generation and transmission (G&T) cooperatives that pooled their resources to provide reliable electricity to 51 local electric cooperative systems today that serve more than 875,000 customers in three states.

AECI is the provider of wholesale power to electric cooperatives in Missouri, southeast Iowa and northeast Oklahoma that are a vital part of the fabric of the rural economy. AECI strives to meet its mission of providing a reliable, affordable power supply to members.

To provide for the system’s ever-growing demand for wholesale electricity, AECI has built a flexible mix of resources, including coal and gas-based power plants, hydropower, Missouri wind power, the Take Control & Save energy efficiency program, a vast and integrated transmission system and interconnections with neighboring utilities.

AECI’s focus on cost contributes to the lowest wholesale electric rates among co-ops in states surrounding Missouri and help keep Missouri’s electricity cost the ninth lowest in the United States. AECI continues to be one of the few wholesale power suppliers rated “AA” by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings Ltd. and “A1” by Moody’s Investors Service.

Annual meeting guests received a commemorative history book, “Tiers of Trust,” written by local author Jennifer Ailor.

The book recounts the leadership and significant events for the cooperative from the past 15 years. It is a continuation of AECI’s first history book, “Win-Win,” which documented AECI’s first 35 years and was published in 1996.

AECI’s mission is to provide an economical and reliable power supply and support services to its members, including the “Take Control & Save” energy efficiency program, AECI is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.