Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an REA? 

"REA" is an abbreviation for Rural Electrification Association. It is an example of grass roots activism by rural Albertans that has had lasting benefits across several generations. The implementation of power co-ops by farmers in the late 1940s-early 1950s changed the face of agriculture. You enjoy electricity today because other rural Albertans cooperated - worked together - to make something possible that seemed impossible. 

Today, REAs exist in Canada only in Alberta and operate in service areas across the province. Although there were greater numbers during the early years of the movement, amalgamations and sales reduced their numbers. There are 32 REAs in total with 23 of those members of the AFREA. 

Why is the REA considered a cooperative? 

An REA is a jointly-owned, not-for-profit social enterprise that is democratically controlled by its members. That makes it a cooperative, and cooperatives are all about the members.
 Every member is an owner.
 Every member has one vote.
 Members elect representatives from the membership to govern the REA.
 Members enjoy the economic benefits of a not-for-profit. Surplus funds are re-invested to upgrade infrastructure and maintain reasonable rates.

The Rural Electrification Association, as a power distribution co-op, is identified on your power bill. If you are a member of an REA, get involved - "get plugged in to your REA" and find out more.

What is the benefit for an REA to be a member of the AFREA?

As the provincial organization recognized in the Rural Utilities Act, the Alberta Federation of REAs (AFREA) Ltd., represents and advocates for its REA members. Over the years, the AFREA has developed and maintained positive professional relationships with government and industry to bring the REA message forward. The AFREA monitors government and industry to ensure the REA voice is heard when new initiatives and projects are introduced that may impact the REA. The AFREA supports and protects the REA right to self-govern (not under the AUC), set their own rates (board regulated), and operate their distribution power co-op under the socially responsible cooperative business model. 

The AFREA represents both Self-Operating REAs (operate their own systems) and Operating REAs (contract out to others to operate their system) with consideration to the uniquness of each. Many projects and initiatives impact all REAs, no matter their status or size, or even if they are an AFREA member. Much of our work focuses on the good of the whole, including rural Alberta communities and other small power consumers. The value of working together (under the Cooperative Principles) engages members in 2-way communication, applies the power of scales of economy, and allows the organizations to move forward with a single vision - REA future sustainability.

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