IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - July/August 2014 - 37

during and after World War i, these early distribution cooperatives were small and often served a mixture of farm and
vacation cottage customers (see Figure 1). After the rural
electrification Act of 1936, the reA organized communities and empowered them to take control of these new utilities by encouraging the formation of electric cooperatives.
Many cooperatives had unique or distinctive elements that
reflected their geographic locations, sources of generated
power, and requirements for constructing distribution lines.
Almost all of them now operate as nonprofits and follow the
rochdale Principles, the historic basis of the cooperative
movement. in addition, most cooperatives were effectively
independent of the jurisdiction of local and state public service commissions.
the leadership of the cooperatives generally came from
among the middle-income farmers, especially those who
could adopt electricity for both household and agricultural
use. the members did not handle the cooperatives' dayto-day operations. this was the work of a permanent staff,
typically between seven and 20 people. it might include a
manager, bookkeeper, office clerks, head lineman, and line
crew. the local staff was neither highly skilled nor highly
paid. the exception might be the manager, who generally
had some previous management experience, although frequently not in the electrical industry.
today, electric cooperatives are alive and well in the United
States, a model of sustainability that was conceived over 75
years ago. in the United States today, more than 900 electric
distribution, generation, and transmission cooperatives:
✔ serve more than 42 million people in 47 states
✔ deliver electricity to more than 18 million businesses,
industries, homes, schools, churches, farms, irrigation
systems, seasonal residences, and other establishments
✔ have assets worth US$140 billion
✔ employ nearly 70,000 workers
✔ cover three-quarters of the nation's land mass
✔ own and maintain 2.5 million miles, or 42%, of the
nation's electric distribution lines
✔ serve 12% of the nation's population
✔ deliver approximately 10% of the total kilowatt-hours
sold each year
✔ generate 5% of the total electricity produced annually.

India
the indian electric power sector faces significant challenges, the root of which is that electricity generation has
been unable to keep pace with rapid industrialization, power
demand for irrigation, and growth in population, even with a
compound annual growth rate of power generation capacity
of 8.2% over the last 66 years. the lack of access to electricity severely limits societal development. According to
the 2011 census, india has 75 million households and somewhere between 350 and 400 million people without access
to electricity. this is naturally more severe in rural areas-
only 55.3% of rural households in india today have access
july/august 2014

figure 1. Rural electrification in Alabama in 1935 (photo
licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0
generic license).

to electricity, although improvements have been slowly
achieved, as that figure was 43.5% in 2001. electricity access
has been firmly put on the reform agenda in the form of
rajiv gandhi grameen Vidyutikaran Yojna (rggVY), the
flagship rural electrification scheme. Apart from rggVY,
the indian Ministry of Power and the Ministry of new and
renewable energy (Mnre) have implemented several other
smaller-scale schemes and programs.
electricity access has been, in theory, a part of the planning framework since the late 1940s. Until the 1970s, electrification was synonymous with connecting the towns and
semiurban areas with the grid. But the introduction of highyield crop varieties and the application of modern agricultural techniques (known as the indian "green revolution")
and the requirements for electrical irrigation pump sets on
a grand scale provided a major impetus for rural electrification. in the late 1980s, the indian government for the first
time adopted some targeted initiatives to address household electrification. the kutir Jyoti (which means "cottage/
hut/household lighting") Program was initiated in 1989 to
provide a single-point light connection to all households
below the poverty line. it has been the longest-lived of all
indian household electrification programs. nearly 6 million households were covered under the scheme through
2004, at a cost of rs.45 billion (US$1 billion). the program
suffered from poor quality of supply and a subsequent lack
of maintenance, however.
ieee power & energy magazine

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - July/August 2014

IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - July/August 2014 - Cover1
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - July/August 2014 - Cover2
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IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - July/August 2014 - Cover3
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