National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) is the organization that represents the interests of over 900 electric cooperatives in the United States, to various legislatures. Independent electric utilities are not-for-profit and are owned by their members. The Association, which was founded in 1942, unites the country's generation, transmission and distribution cooperatives which are found in 47 states and serve over 40 million people. It is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, and its CEO is Jim Matheson.
Electric cooperatives serve 12 percent of the nation's population, yet own 42 percent of America's distribution lines, which covers three-quarters of the country. Currently, over 90% of electric cooperatives include renewable generation in their portfolios, receiving 11 percent of their total power from renewable sources compared to 8 percent for the entire utility sector.
In December 2020, co-ops under NRECA won $1.6 billion from the FCC's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to provide rural broadband service to approximately 900,000 locations. In February 2021, NRECA's Matheson filed an appeal to the FCC for also awarding SpaceX's Starlink internet service funds. SpaceX was awarded $886 million to cover nearly 650,000 locations. Matheson noted the Starlink service was "still in beta testing- not a proven technology".
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