Sussex Rural Electric Cooperative is a locally owned and managed, tax exempt electric utility which was incorporated in the State of New Jersey in April of 1937. Under those articles of incorporation Sussex Rural Electric is owned by the members it serves. Each member is granted a membership certificate for a fee of $5.00. However, no member can hold more than one membership certificate or have more than one vote regardless of how many services they own or how much electricity they use.
The Cooperative concept was created in 1937 under FDR’s “New Deal” and was intended to be an economic stimulus to the depressed economy of the 1930's. Prior to the New Deal, rural America did not have the benefit of central station electric service. The only way rural residents could get electricity was to pay the investor owned utilities to build the electric system to their home or farm. Most families could not afford to pay for the construction of the electrical system, therefore, rural America did not have central electric service. However, under the New Deal, the Federal Government encouraged Rural Communities to form Electric Cooperatives for the purpose of creating an affordable electric system to serve their needs. Under the Cooperative concept the only requirement necessary to receive electrical service was that you become a member by purchasing a membership certificate for $5.00.
The history of Sussex Rural Electric Cooperative was chronicled in a special 75th Anniversary Issue in the New Jersey Herald. For further information on the history of the cooperative click here.
The Cooperative concept successfully achieved its main goal of stimulating the economy by bringing electricity to all rural communities. The benefits of electricity led to the sale of appliances and modern farm equipment which paved the way to more productivity and a much better quality of life for anyone living in a rural community.
Sussex Rural Electric’s tax exempt status (501c12) was granted by the IRS and requires that 85% of our revenue must come from the sale of electricity and that any margin generated from this activity be refunded to the members in the form of Capital Credits. The method of Capital Credit retirement is determined by the Board of Directors. The financial constraints, which must be achieved in order to refund Capital Credits, are determined by the mortgage agreement between Sussex Rural Electric and its lenders.
Under our by-laws an annual meeting is held each year. The purpose of this meeting is to elect three of the nine board members or directors for a three year term. Also, management gives a report to the members updating the physical and the financial status of the Co-op.
The primary objective of the Cooperative is to provide reliable electrical service to our members at the lowest possible cost. The Accounting and Engineering standards of the Cooperative were established by The Rural Utilities Services (RUS). The Cooperative’s debt was financed from two sources, 70% from The Rural Utilities Services, and, 30% from National Rural Utilities Cooperative Financial Cooperation (CFC). However in July of 2002 the Cooperative bought out of the RUS debt and is currently financed 100% from CFC. Our service territory represents the Northwestern portion of Sussex County in New Jersey and a small portion of Orange County in New York State. We have a fifty year utility service contract with the U.S. Army to provide utility service at Picatinny Arsenal.