Case Studies

Essential reading:

  • 3 Southern Changes Journal Articles about REC organizing in the 80's and 90's (Source: Southern Changes)
    Description: Reading 1 is very short and details very concretely how relatively easy it was to take over a REC board and use it to not only drive down utility costs but also move resources towards a business development center that created dozens of new jobs. Reading 2 is also very short and essentially shows the results of a study by the 'Southern Regional Council' detailing underrepresentation of Black communities on REC boards.

  • Cobb members stop coal plant, end corruption and go solar (Source: We Own It)
    Description: A short article about the story of Cobb EMC member-owners, at a large co-op north of Atlanta, Georgia, overturning corruption in the wake of stopping a bad coal plant deal and reforming their co-op.

  • Pedernales members end corruption, set renewable target (Source: We Own It)
    Description: A short article about the story of Pedernales Electric Co-op, a large co-op outside of Austin, Texas, and the member-owners overturning corruption and reforming their co-op.

Suggested reading:

  • Revitalizing Ouachita: How One Electric Co-op is Moving Forward (Source: Appalachian Voices)
    Description: A great overview of success at Ouachita Electric in Arkansas including broadband, energy efficiency, and solar. Quote from Mark Cayce, OEC's CEO: It seems counterproductive; why would any utility supplier want to sell energy at a lower price and decrease their profit? “Well,” says Cayce, “We’re in the business of serving our members, not selling electricity.”

  • Eastern Kentucky Power Cooperative and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth (Source: Abby Spinak’s Dissertation chapter, MIT)
    Description: An in-depth case study of the work of KFTC in Eastern Kentucky.

Supplementary reading:

  • RECs and the Fight for Economic Democracy in the US (Source: Abby Spinak's Dissertation from MIT)
    Description: "My dissertation is a combined historical and qualitative study of a nation-wide network of electric cooperatives that have existed in the United States for nearly 80 years. In my case study research, I examine how electric co-ops can in fact be a powerful venue for local democracy and community transformation; for this potential to be realized, though, co-op members must re-envision the co-op not as a single-issue business, but as a community institution in a broader political struggle."