2020 Year in Review

Message from the Executive Director

Pride in Performance: CREA Maintains Core Services Throughout 75th Year

For 75 years, CREA has supported Cooperative Principle #5 through in-person communication with our members: safety sessions, board meetings, the Energy Innovations Summit, annual meetings, peer group conferences, director training and national conferences and more. Then along comes 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic certainly could have sidetracked CREA, a trade association that specializes in facilitating in-person meetings. It didn’t. Like all of your co-ops, we regrouped.

—Kent Singer, CREA Executive Director


Representing Colorado's Electric Cooperatives at the Capitol (Even with a 2-Month Break)

CARE, the Colorado political action committee, was created to support legislators and candidates who support the principles of rural electrification in Colorado. The CREA legislative staff, the CARE Committee and the membership determine which candidates for state office receive CARE’s support. In 2020, CARE raised money through memberships from ordinary people like you and during its first virtual auction.

Future policy

Last year's wildfire season was historic, charring more acres than any year before. In total over 600,000 acres of Colorado land were burned in 2020.

As Colorado’s wildfire risk continues to increase, it is imperative that Colorado’s electric cooperatives work with stakeholders through Colorado to prevent further wildfire destruction. The white paper analyzes different policy options to increase the effectiveness of wildfire mitigation and prevention in Colorado.


Providing Lifelong Learning Opportunities (Beyond the In-person Classroom)

CREA has great pride in the performance of the education programs it offers to directors, co-op managers, co-op staff, co-op employees and the young people who will be our future co-op leaders. These various programs offer collaboration with others doing similar jobs, interactions with a variety of industry stakeholders, opportunities to hear industry experts share different points of view and learning from multiple sources. And, CREA offers these educational options in state at costs that are lower than other national alternatives, which saves distribution co-ops on registration fees each year. Review the 2021 education schedule here.


CREA supports its member co-ops as they put concern for community into practice.

There may be no better example of the cooperative principles of Education, Training and Information, and Commitment to Community than Colorado’s electric co-op youth programs: Youth Leadership Camp, Washington D.C. Youth Tour and the Junior Livestock Sale. We believe the future of our communities is our youth. Each year Colorado’s electric cooperatives individually support opportunities for students to learn more about leadership, history, government, the co-op business model, energy and much more.


The Colorado Electric Educational Institute Board of Directors established a Wildfire Relief Fund late in 2020 to assist co-op employees, first responders, rural fire departments, paramedic services and other community-based organizations who responded to the 2020 wildfires that swept through parts of electric co-op service territory.

After collecting nearly $124,000 in donations from CREA, Tri-State, several local electric co-ops and readers of the electric co-op magazine, Colorado Country Life, the donations were distributed to 24 people and organizations affected by last summer’s wildfires. CEEI distributed 100% of the proceeds received by the fund.


Sharing the Co-op Story (Through a Year of Ever-changing Schedules)

CREA, through its broad communication efforts, builds recognition and understanding of cooperative issues and policy positions while engaging with cooperative consumer-members and other key stakeholders through its various media. These various newsletters, new releases, websites, social media posts and Colorado Country Life, the statewide co-op magazine, all highlight the strength of our cooperative business model and the important role the local electric cooperatives play in the sustainable development of rural Colorado communities.

CREA’s communications department provides custom turnkey resources to assist CREA member co-ops with their communications efforts to share their story, programs and services.

Communications extends beyond the magazine. CREA Communications department creates a wide range of digital and print products for the other departments at CREA and Colorado's electric cooperatives.

safety & Loss control

Promoting a Healthy & Safe Work Environment (as Essential Workers in Challenging Times)

CREA’s Safety and Loss Control staff provides training and services that keep co-op employees safe as they maintain the electric co-ops’ systems and meet the needs of the co-ops’ consumer-members, especially during outages and other emergency situations. In 2020, the department quickly altered the way its staff members delivered their essential safety support despite limitations created by the pandemic.

CREA Board

President's Message

CREA began 2020 by celebrating its 75th year serving as the statewide trade association for Colorado’s electric cooperatives. A month later, the world changed as the COVID-19 pandemic spread.

We all began attending virtual meetings. The safety and loss control team provided online safety training; education classes continued via video calls; the government relations team met with legislators and candidates via Zoom or with masks on and exercising social distance; and the communications team continued to carry the co-op story in all of its publications and on all of its channels. Although 2020 was a challenging year in many respects, CREA rose to the challenges.

—Jeff Hauck, President

Treasurer's Message

In 2020, CREA’s expenses were $53,862 less than budget company-wide. Employee expenses, staff travel and director expenses were significantly under budget for 2020. Revenue was down because the board approved reducing third quarter dues 50%, for a total cumulative savings to the membership of $306,360. CREA ended the year with margins as follows:

CREA budgeted for negative margins (deficits) in 2020 because its cash on hand exceeded the policy requirement that three months operating cash be held in reserve. Over the past 10 years there have been five years when we did not have a dues increase for the general administration department and over the past five years the safety and loss control department did not have a dues increase in three of those years.

—Rod Martinez, Treasurer

CREA Staff

2020 was a challenging year for CREA. I can’t tell you how proud I am all of our employees who rallied together to find new ways to provide service to all of our members — Colorado’s electric co-ops. We look forward to continuing to provide those services in 2021 and many years beyond. Thank you again for all of your support of CREA.

—Kent Singer, CREA Executive Director