Washington Electric Co-op’s system was energized on December 2, 1939, bringing diesel generated power to 150 farms and homes over 55 miles of distribution line. Today, the Cooperative serves over 10,500 members, 97% of whom are residential consumers. Its service area covers 2,728 square miles in parts of 41 towns in north-central Vermont, in the counties of Washington, Orange, Caledonia and Orleans. It operates approximately 1,200 miles of distribution line, with eight substations.
The Cooperative also owns and operates the Wrightsville hydroelectric generating station, which is a store-and-release plant located at the Wrightsville Dam on the North Branch of the Winooski River. The plant has a nominal output of 800 KW, a drainage area of 69 square miles, and a normal operating head of 56 feet.
Washington Electric Cooperative began construction of an electric generating facility with three engines at Vermont’s largest landfill in Coventry in December 2004. By July 1, 2005, the facility was generating full time and a fourth engine was installed in January 2007. On October 7, 2008, WEC members voted to add a fifth engine which began operating on June 17, 2009. The methane generation facility provides about two-thirds of WEC’s members’ electricity needs at affordable, stable and long-term prices .
A nine-member Board of Directors, elected by the members, oversees the $13 million a year operation, and directs its progress.