Like the river it's named after, the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) keeps the power running smoothly. The consumer-owned cooperative provides electricity to homes, businesses, and industries in parts of 22 counties from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the mouth of the Rappahannock River in eastern Virginia. REC supplies power to 155,000 members over more than 16,000 miles of power line. REC offers surge protection, internet services, and home security plans to entice customers as competition from other suppliers arrives. Once rural in nature, the cooperative's territory has seen large pockets of suburban growth.
Dramatically growing its business, in 2010 the company and fellow co-op Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperatives acquired Potomac Edison (Allegheny Energy's electric distribution operations in Virginia) for about $340 million. The expansion increased REC's coverage from 16 counties to 22, its customer base by about 50%, and boosted the company's revenues and net income for the year.
REC is also pursuing ways to help its customers to become more energy efficient to help them save money and to help the cooperative trim its power capacity growth plans. Supported by a $16 million federal green energy grant awarded in 2010 the company is replacing customers' older meters with smart (automated, efficient) ones. It installed some 4,000 smart meters at business customer locations that year.
REC was formed when the Virginia Electric Cooperative in Bowling Green and the Northern Piedmont Electric Cooperative in Culpeper merged in 1980. – less