Gunnison County Electric Association (GCEA) is a non-profit, member-owned rural electric cooperative. It was established on September 21, 1938 by a group of local ranchers who wanted to bring electricity to the Gunnison Valley. The first lines were energized on December 6, 1941.
Because GCEA customers are both members and owners of the cooperative, they are entitled to rights and responsibilities not available to investor-owned utility or municipal utility customers. GCEA, like all other rural electric cooperatives, adheres to the Seven Cooperative Principles. Click here to learn more about the Seven Cooperative Principles.
Operating margins (or profits), including patronage capital received from other affiliated organizations such as Tri-State Generation & Transmission, GCEA's power supplier, are allocated to members as capital credits, based on a percentage of their annual billing. The capital is credited to an account in each member's name for every year that it is accumulated. Cash is actually paid out to retire assigned capital credits based on the financial strength of the cooperative.
Members have a voice in the operation of the cooperative through locally elected board representatives, direct visits with the Chief Executive Officer and staff, and attendance at the Annual Meeting held every June. For more information on our Board of Directors and the districts they cover, please click here to visit our Board of Directors page.
GCEA's service boundaries encompass portions of Gunnison, Hinsdale, and Saguache counties serving approximately 11,000 consumer-owners on 1,089 miles of distribution line made up of 462 miles of overhead line and 627 miles of underground cable. GCEA has the second-highest percentage of underground lines of the 22 rural electric cooperatives in Colorado.
Distribution lines are fed from 1 of 4 substations; either from the Lake City Substation, the Skito Substation, the Alkali Substation, or the Crested Butte Substation.
GCEA gets its electricity from Tri-State Generation & Transmission, a wholesale power supplier owned by the 43 electric cooperatives that it serves. Tri-State's service territory covers portions of Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Wyoming.