Reforming the Electric Co-ops | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Reforming the Electric Co-ops

KFTC members believe that Kentucky's rural electric cooperatives can be open and democratic organizations that listen and react to the concerns of their members–who in fact collectively own their co-ops. The cooperatives can also play important roles in bringing clean energy and good jobs to our local communities. However, these days most of the co-ops are not living up to their own cooperative principals of "Democratic Member Control" and "Education, Training, and Information."

Many of the co-ops do not allow members to attend their board meetings. Some make it extremely difficult for members to run for their boards of directors of the co-op, by making it hard to get on the ballot in the first place, or by maintaining an undemocratic proxy voting process. Co-ops have also been resistant to embracing the clean energy and energy efficiency programs their member-owners want and deserve.

So, as we work to build New Power throughout Kentucky, KFTC members have consistently worked to renew and reform their rural electric co-ops. In the past, through a campaign called Renew East Kentucky, KFTC members:

  • Met with our co-op board directors to inform them about the changes we are seeking
  • Ran for our co-op boards to try to get elected, and to bring up the issues of democracy and clean energy to the cooperative membersip
  • Worked to pass a Members' Bill of Rights in our co-ops
  • Particpated in a “Clean Energy Collaborative” between members of East Kentucky Power Cooperative, its 16 distribution co-ops, co-op member-owners, KFTC, and other public interest groups.


KFTC’s organizing around rural electric co-ops and other utilities is ongoing, but now takes place predominantly through the Power House Project. We are grateful and indebted to the legacy of the Renew East Kentucky campaign and all that we learned from that effort.

Platform of Co-op Reforms

KFTC's work in reforming Kentucky's co-ops is guided by our Platform of Rural Electric Co-op Reforms. KFTC members came together in 2012 to develop this document that lays out the changes we seek. From each rural electric co-op in Kentucky, we want affordable energy; clean, renewable energy choices; good local jobs; sound financial decisions; respect for landowners; open and fair elections; open meetings; and open records. The platform includes thirty points for reform, including:

  • Voting for any candidate position shall be by postage-paid, mail-in ballot. All proxy voting shall be prohibited.

  • Members shall have access to all board meetings, whether they are regular or special meetings, with the exception of executive sessions.

  • Minutes of all meetings, and any supporting materials related to the minutes, shall be posted promptly on the co-op's website and made available at the co-op's district offices. 

  • The co-ops shall prioritize their investments in these clean energy sources rather than contracting to purchase and re-sell energy that is generated in a manner that poses a danger to current and future generations.

  • The co-op shall not spend co-op member equity to lobby against state energy efficiency and renewable energy standards, as these standards will lead all utilities to a more diverse energy portfolio and create local, clean energy jobs. 

Click here to download the full platform.