Wiregrass Electric Cooperative (WEC) is committed to providing quality electrical service as well as improving the quality of life of its consumers through a variety of programs and services available to all consumers.
WEC tackled the massive job of bringing electricity to rural areas of Southeast Alabama (the Wiregrass) more than half a century ago. Today, through the use of innovative technology, the Cooperative is leading the way in assuring a progressive future amid new challenges posed by the 21st century. However, the principle on which it was organized in 1939 remains unchanged — created by people, for people.
WEC has put technology to work throughout the company with the introduction of the Auto-Meter Program. Through substation upgrades and conversion of each meter to a digital automated meter that can be read by a remote computer, the Cooperative reports benefits to include employee and cooperative efficiency and cost-effectiveness while delivering improved customer service to all consumers.
The goal when WEC was formed in 1939 was to serve the electrical needs of rural areas which the large power companies found unprofitable. Now, with electricity commonplace and taken for granted except on occasions when a power outage occurs, the Cooperative is involved in meeting the needs of its consumers in a high-tech, less rural world.
Locally owned and controlled by the members it serves, WEC provides electric service to over 22,000 consumer-members in Houston and Geneva Counties in Alabama and parts of Dale, Coffee, and Covington Counties with almost 4,000 miles of line and an average of 5.69 meters per mile. Daily business of the Cooperative is carried out at its headquarters in Hartford and at the district offices located in Dothan, Ashford, and Samson. Currently the Cooperative has a total of 62 employees.
The CEO makes the day-to-day business decisions for the cooperative. The members elect a Board of Trustees at the annual meeting each year. The nine trustees are the policy making and supervisory branch of the cooperative. They make sure the cooperative is run correctly and in the best interest of the members.
After all expenses are paid at the end of the year, any excess revenue (margins) is assigned on the cooperative books to the patrons who used the services on a prorated basis. The cooperative retains these funds, called capital credits, to use as operating funds. As the funds increase to the point that the cooperative has more than the amount needed for operation, a portion of the capital credits are refunded to the members on a first-in, first-out basis.
Rural electric cooperatives pay taxes on the same basis as other businesses. The only tax cooperatives do not pay is income tax. There is no profit, so there is no income tax to pay.