In the 1940s, the Alberta government asked the Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) to bring power to rural Alberta. The IOUs declined, citing cost as a factor. With this reality, Alberta farmers decided to step up and formed co-operatives, also known as Rural Electrification Associations (REAs), to bring electricity to rural Alberta.
REA co-operatives come in all sizes and members own the electrical distribution system they helped build. The REA Board of Directors, elected from the rural membership, regulates REA business. Because REAs operate at cost they provide a benchmark for electricity rates and tariffs. Unlike IOUs, they do not generate profits for shareholders, they produce savings for members. As the rural landscape changed over the past 70 plus years, so did the REAs, enhancing their respective services for their member-owners.
On January 1, 2013, EQUS REA LTD. became official as a result of the merger of two of the province’s largest REAs: the Central Alberta REA and the South Alta REA. The Central Alberta REA originated from the amalgamation of fourteen smaller REAs, celebrating their 20th anniversary in 2012. The South Alta REA's growth was the result of the amalgamation of nine REAs, starting in 1997 through to 2001. With these respective amalgamations came economies of scale that benefited the membership by spreading the costs of running the electrical system over more services and lowering the per service costs.
The merger of these two successful REAs makes EQUS the largest member-owned utility in Canada. EQUS is rural-based and rural-focused, and provides quality service to businesses, developers, farms, residences, commercial and industrial sites. EQUS' goal is to provide safe and reliable electricity distribution to our member-owners.