imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Are Electricity Co-ops Answer to Deregulation?

by Jules Saturday, Jan. 27, 2001 at 11:16 AM

Are electricity cooperatives the answer to deregulation?


Are Electricity Cooperatives the Answer to Deregulation?

Derek Alger is a freelance writer.

While Cassandra-like headlines about soaring electricity prices and rolling blackouts in California bombard the public, a group of leaders in the New York City housing cooperative movement has quietly, but effectively, been pooling its collective resources to enter the energy field.

1st Rochdale Cooperative, the country's first urban electric cooperative, began laying the groundwork three years ago. The electric cooperative prepared for energy deregulation by organizing housing cooperatives in New York City to purchase their own electricity.

Allen Thurgood, a leader in the cooperative movement for the last thirty years, founded 1st Rochdale. He envisioned it as lowering members' energy bills through comprehensive energy management, while also developing conservation strategies and renewable energy sources. He noted that it was created to protect the interests of residential consumers in light of federal and state mandates to restructure the electric utility industry.

The move seems to be paying off. The consumer-owned electric co-op is one of about nine companies in New York City currently supplying electricity to residential customers. It was singled out by the New York Post last summer as providing the lowest kilowatt price per hour of all the energy services companies certified with the Public Service Commission.

At the same time, 1st Rochdale has launched a pilot program with the help of the U.S. Department of Energy and the New York State Energy Research Development Authority. The program will install solar energy panels at two housing cooperatives with more than 2,500 families. 1st Rochdale also has plans to introduce localized, on-site generation from fuel cells and microturbines in New York City.

Conceiving a Cooperative

1st Rochdale was created to take advantage of the real opportunity to cut energy costs. Like California, New York State is moving toward energy deregulation. Customers of Con Edison -- the investor-owned utility with a long-time monopoly on New York City's electric service -- can now choose a new electricity provider.

The concept of 1st Rochdale, according to Thurgood, was based on his experience in the cooperative movement. Co-op members can purchase more collectively than they can individually, so why shouldn't this apply to energy as well? And, of course, he recognized that there are an estimated 1.5 million people living in housing cooperatives in New York City.

Thurgood's idea of an electric co-op was first greeted with skepticism and even ridicule. He pressed on. Eventually, he successfully presented his plan to the Coordinated Council of Cooperatives and other New York cooperatives.

But what to do next? Thurgood conceded that he didn't know the energy business, but he knew where to go to get advice and direction from the experts. So, members of 1st Rochdale approached the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) to learn the business. NRECA not only responded to the call, but also accepted 1st Rochdale in 1998 as the first urban co-op among its membership.

NRECA and its member cooperatives are actively involved in promoting national energy and environmental research. Statewide associations of the NRECA also provide a unified voice when addressing the general public, regulatory bodies and state legislators on behalf of its membership. NRECA represents almost 1,000 rural electric cooperatives and serves more than 30 million people in forty-six states. (In fact, the NRECA reports, close to half of all electric power lines in the United States are owned by electric cooperatives.)

Cooperatives at Home and Abroad

1st Rochdale is named after the town of Rochdale, England, near Manchester, where the roots of the modern cooperative movement can be traced. In 1844, a group of twenty-eight factory workers living in Rochdale sought to gain control over their economic destiny by forming a cooperative called the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society.

The cooperative in Rochdale was a success. In addition to opening a cooperative general goods store, members were able to buy in quantity and sell at low prices, thus, establishing the fundamental principles of modern cooperatives.

Cooperative businesses have been part of the American experience since at least 1752, thanks to Benjamin Franklin. Franklin, after living in Great Britain and seeing the growing role of "mutual" or cooperative societies there, helped create the first mutual insurance company, the "Philadelphia Contributorship for the Insurance of Houses from Losses by Fire."

Although Franklin is known as the father of American cooperatives, it was farmers who were largely responsible for the early development of cooperatives in the United States. The first farmer marketing cooperative was formed in 1804 by dairymen in the Connecticut River Valley, and by 1857, New York and Ohio both had enacted laws enabling cooperative (mutual) insurance companies to operate.

The ethical tradition of the Rochdale pioneers and their American counterparts was based on honesty, openness, social responsibility, and caring for others -- principles at which the contemporary cynic would probably sneer and say, "Give me a break."

But, as 1st Rochdale's founder Allen Thurgood argues, cooperatives are created in response to the needs of their members and operate solely for the benefit of their member-owners. As a result, co-ops provide goods and services to their members at reasonable and fair prices, and not to maximize profits, which is exactly what 1st Rochdale is trying to do on behalf of its customer-members in the electricity market.

While it appears, at least for the moment, that most New York consumers plan to stay with the giant Con Edison, 1st Rochdale is making inroads and optimistically hopes to capture 10 percent of the New York City market by the year 2005. Initially drawing on its base of housing cooperatives, 1st Rochdale is now signing up small and large apartment buildings, as well as businesses as customers.

Recently, 1st Rochdale also hooked up as a partner with the Touchstone Energy Alliance, the country's largest affiliated utility network serving families and businesses through member-owned cooperatives across the United States. There are currently over 560 Touchstone Energy Cooperatives in thirty-eight states, delivering energy and energy solutions to over 15 million customers everyday.

As New Yorkers settle down to cheer the Giants on against the Baltimore Ravens in the Superbowl in Tampa, Forida, power officials have advised residents of California who plan to watch the game on television to do it with friends to ease the power burden and avoid a potential blackout. Most football fans, not to mention other people, never envisioned such a problem. 1st Rochdale did, and that's why it hopes to expand its membership. It aspires to have more clout to provide essential electricity service, which too many, for too long, have taken for granted.

Originally published at:

Report this post as:

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
We Need Electric Cooperative in California! C.E. Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2001 at 9:55 AM

Local News

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 3:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 1:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 12:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 12:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 4:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J10 11:58PM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M30 10:20PM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 12:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 1:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 2:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 3:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 2:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 1:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 1:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 4:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 1:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A26 10:37PM


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Post-capitalist Perspectives A15 5:09AM

Big Brother chez vous, Big Brother partout A13 11:18PM

Change Links August 2018 A13 6:56PM

Vietnam Labor Watch Tackles Outside and Inside Exploitation of Nation's workforce A13 6:40PM

What it means to be an artist A12 8:28PM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 4:09PM

Video: Lawrence Tribe: To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment," 59 min A12 10:11AM

Génétique de l'environnement A12 3:32AM

Video: Thomas Frank: Rendezvous with Oblivion, 58 min A11 12:48PM

Philippines – Duterte 2 Years on: Destructive, Divisive, and Despotic A11 1:29AM

Anarchie et anarchisme A10 4:13AM

July 2018 Honduras Coup update A09 11:23PM

The iranian Backed Militia Hezbollah Bombs Communty Center in Argentina July 1995 85 Dead A09 6:50PM

The Shortwave Report 08/10/136/18 Listen Globally! A09 4:19PM

Paraphysique du taulard A09 1:58AM

Pantarchy: Voluntary State and a New Catholic Church: Stephen Pearl Andrews A07 7:38PM

Against Market Radicalism A06 4:02AM

Négoce du vol organisé A06 12:59AM

Paraphysique de la litote A05 1:48AM

Kudzu Root grows in many US states has anti alcoholism help A04 5:09AM

Syrian People Suffe after years of Russian Air Bombings and Attacks by the Syrian Army2018 A03 8:05PM

Over 20 State Attorneys General Call for Shell Company Transparency A03 9:58AM

Paraphysique d'ostracisme, du ça va, d'aparté A03 1:20AM

The Shortwave Report 08/03/18 Listen Globally! A02 5:14PM

Capitalism and Worldwide Inequality A01 3:14AM

Paraphysique de la sauvagerie J31 11:42PM

Paraphysique de la résignation J30 12:17AM

Mexican-American History Can Be Unveiled in USA 2018 J29 12:28PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy