What Is A Co-op?

A cooperative business owned and governed by its members. Providing electric service the cooperative way distinguishes electric cooperatives from investor-owned and municipal electric utilities. Flathead Electric is a not-for-profit cooperative that operates for the benefit of its members, rather than investors. Our members, staff, and trustees are all part of the community we serve.

Our Mission

The mission of Flathead Electric, a not-for-profit, member-owned cooperative, is to provide competitive and reliable services, achieve the highest level of member satisfaction, and enhance the quality of life in our communities.

Our Story


President Roosevelt created the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) to provide funding to electrify rural homes.

1937 to 1938

On September 20, 1937, a group of neighbors formed Flathead Electric Cooperative to bring power to their homes and farms. In December 1938 the initial 82 miles of line were energized and 117 Flathead farm homes had electricity for the first time!

1974 to 1975

The building that Flathead Electric Co-op currently occupies at 2510 US Highway 2 E, Kalispell, was constructed during this time frame, and we’re still here.


Flathead Electric Co-op purchased investor-owned utility PacificCorp, expanding its service area to the municipalities of Kalispell and Whitefish, all of the Libby area, and Cooke City, Montana.


Your Co-op and the Flathead County Landfill launched the landfill-gas-to-energy power plant – the first such project in Montana.


Your Co-op unveiled Community Solar Phase I with 356 solar panels on Whitefish Stage Road.


Flathead Electric Cooperative purchased its first electric car, a Chevy Bolt, in an effort to understand and prepare for the emerging technology of electric vehicles.


Your Co-op expanded the landfill gas-to-energy plant by installing a second engine, doubling the generating capacity.

How We’ve Grown

Many things have changed since those first miles of power lines were strung across the Flathead Valley, but the cooperative spirit of neighbor helping neighbor still guides us.

We are ready for the challenges and changes of the 21st Century. But one thing hasn’t changed: we’re still
neighbors, a local company owned by those we serve.

Who Regulates Flathead Electric Cooperative?

A 9-member Board of Trustees

  • Elected by cooperative members
  • Represent each of 9 service districts

Your Co-op by the Numbers

Last updated January 2, 2024

7 Cooperative Principles

Cooperatives around the world operate according to the same set of core principles and values, adopted by the International Cooperative Alliance.

Cooperatives trace the roots of these principles to the first modern cooperative founded in Rochdale, England in 1844.

These principles are a key reason that America’s electric cooperatives operate differently from other electric utilities — co-ops put the needs of their members first.

Voluntary & Open Membership

  • Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership.

Democratic Member Control

  • Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions.

Members’ Economic Participation

  • Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. One of the many benefits of being a member-owner of Flathead Electric Co-op is that any profits or margins, above and beyond operating expenses, are allocated back to the members in the form of Capital Credits. When the financial condition of the Cooperative permits, these Capital Credits are retired and paid out to the members.

Autonomy & Independence

  • Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control as well as their unique identity.

Education, Training, & Information

  • Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives.

Cooperation Among Cooperatives

  • Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together. Flathead Electric Cooperative partners with the Montana Electric Co-op Association (MECA) and the National Rural Electric Co-op Association (NRECA), among others.

Concern for Community

  • While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities. Helping to make our community safer through the Roundup for Safety program, providing scholarships for area students, and donating to local food banks and other charitable organizations are just a few of the ways Flathead Electric demonstrates its concern for community members and their well-being.