Rural electric cooperatives became permanent fixtures on May 21, 1936, when the Rural Electrification Act was signed into law. At the time, electric utilities did not provide service in the vast majority of Florida or the United States. The cost of providing service in the non-urban areas was prohibitive, and the investor-owned utilities refused to extend their lines into non-urban areas until there was enough development to make a profit. The Act empowered local farmers, residents and businesses to join together to create their own electric utilities, and brought electricity to the rest of the Country. Today these electric cooperatives are still not-for-profit electric utilities that are owned by the members they serve, and provide at-cost electric service to their members. Each cooperative is governed by a board of cooperative members that is elected by the membership. This form of governance and ownership has served the cooperatives well over the years. The first Florida co-ops were incorporated in 1937. Soon after, citizens formed other cooperatives in those parts of Florida that did not yet have electric utilities. Today, Florida has 16 distribution cooperatives and 2 generation and transmission cooperatives that collectively employ more than 2, 500 Floridians. Electric cooperatives provide reliable and affordable electricity to more than 1, 000, 000 members in 58 of Florida's 67 counties. While electric cooperatives only serve 10% of Florida's population, our service territory covers more than 60% of Florida's land mass. As the years went by the individual coops found a need to be jointly represented before the Legislature and in other venues. The same democratic spirit that operates each cooperative became the model for the Florida Electric Cooperatives Association, Inc ( FECA ), which was founded on December 15, 1950. FECA is the professional trade association that represents the collective interests of 17 electric cooperatives in Florida. FECA's member systems include 15 electric distribution cooperatives and 2 generation and transmission cooperatives. Florida's electric cooperatives are relatively small electric utilities and work together in many ways to achieve scales of economy that they can not achieve on their own. In 1975, Florida's cooperatives created the Florida Rural Electric Credit Union to provide banking services to cooperative employees and members in underserved areas. In 1979, the Florida Rural Electric Self-insurer's Fund was created to provide workers' compensation insurance to electric cooperatives at a substantial savings to the market. Similar national organizations have been formed to achieve scales of economies for the more than 900 electric cooperatives spread out across the United States. These associations include the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association ( NRECA ), the Cooperative Finance Corporation ( CFC ), the Federated Rural Electric Insurance Exchange, and the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative. With these organizations, electric cooperatives have developed an expertise and scale of economy that rivals even the largest utilities.