Intermountain Rural Electric Associationâ€™s 5,000-square-mile service territory includes portions of 11 counties to the east, west and south of Denver. With more than 160,000 customers, IREA is the largest electric distribution cooperative in Colorado and one of the largest in the U.S. As a customer-owned cooperative, IREA operates on a nonprofit basis; earnings exceeding expenses are invested in the facilities used to provide electric service and are booked as member equity. Some of this equity is returned to members almost every year, as finances permit, through capital credit refunds. These refunds normally are made in March.
IREA is governed by a seven-member board of directors. Directors represent geographic districts and serve four-year terms. They are elected by the members who receive service in their respective districts. Among its other responsibilities, the board of directors establishes service rates and regulations.
IREA buys wholesale power under long-term agreements with Xcel Energy and the Western Area Power Administration. IREA also purchases all of the output of a 12.83-megawatt photovoltaic array, known as Victory Solar, north of the town of Bennett. IREA owns and receives a share of the generation of power from Comanche Unit 3, a supercritical, pulverized coal plant in Pueblo. That plant is operated by Xcel, but IREA owns 25.3% of the plant and its output.
IREAâ€™s headquarters is located in Sedalia, about 20 miles south of Denver, and has district offices in Bennett, Conifer and Woodland Park.