Touchstone Energy® is an alliance of local, customer-owned electric and energy utilities across the country committed to providing state-of-the-art technology and personalized service at affordable rates to all customers, large and small. The core message to this brand is cooperative values and uniqueness of electric cooperatives. North Western Electric is proud to be recognized as a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.
Formerly known as the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), the Rural Utilities Service was reorganized in October 1994. Still a federal agency within the Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., RUS combined former REA’s purpose to lend money to electric cooperatives and rural telephone systems with the water and wastewater programs of the Rural Development Administration. RUS does not directly control the Cooperative, nor does it sell electricity.
Most electric cooperatives today must find a portion of their financing from other sources than RUS, such as Cooperative Finance Corporation or the Bank for Cooperatives.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is an organization of electric cooperatives throughout the nation. It represents your interests in the nation’s capital, and serves as a medium through which electric cooperatives can exchange information and ideas. It conducts director and employee management training programs, operates insurance and retirement programs for member systems, and collects and disseminates information on electric cooperatives. Each state elects one director to serve on the NRECA Board.
The Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC) was formed in 1969 when nearly 800 cooperatives organized to provide themselves with a source of supplemental capital when REA began to phase out the 2% interest loan program. CFC is owned and operated as a cooperative by the participating rural electric systems, one of which is North Western Electric. A 22-member Board of Directors elected by the member systems governs this financing institution. CFC makes loans to rural electric cooperatives to supplement the REA program of guaranteed 5% loan. Interest rates charged by CFC are determined by the cost of money on the open market.
Buckeye Power, Inc. is the generation and transmission cooperative jointly owned by the 25 electric cooperatives in Ohio. Buckeye Power was formed for two reasons: (1) to provide Ohio cooperatives with a dependable source of electric power, and (2) to provide that power at the lowest possible cost. Buckeye Power owns a coal-fired steam generating station (Cardinal Plant), which is located on the Ohio River near Brilliant, Ohio. From this plant, which has a capacity of 1,230,000 KW, power is transmitted to each of its member cooperatives. Buckeye was financed with money from its member cooperatives in addition to loans from REA and CFC. Each year all margins are distributed as patronage capital to all member cooperatives on the basis of the amount of energy purchased during the year. This patronage capital in turn is allocated to all of our customers, based on the amount of energy used during the year. Each cooperative elects one director to serve on its Board of Directors.