At\u00a0Energy Ogre,\u00a0we\u2019re\u00a0proud to be helping thousands of people save on their energy bills. Yet\u00a0a lot of people\u00a0are \u201cogre-vated\u201d that we can\u2019t help them.\u00a0\u00a0Why is that? It's because of the electric cooperatives in Texas. Unfortunately, virtually\u00a0all the\u00a0areas\u00a0in Texas\u00a0served by electric cooperatives,\u00a0(co-ops or municipal utilities),\u00a0are\u00a0closed\u00a0to retail competition. They\u00a0operate on \u201cone-price-fits-all\u201d models. Ultimately, this prevents Energy Ogre\u00a0from selecting\u00a0an alternative provider for you\u00a0that could save you money on your power bill. Now, we\u2019re not knocking co-ops. They've provided a basic need for years in rural communities. In fact, Texas was one of the first states in the Union to establish an organization that would allow communities to decide how they would get and pay for their power. So it\u2019s important to remind ourselves of a little history. The History of Electric Cooperatives in Texas Back in the 1930s, folks in rural Texas used wood stoves and read by coal-oil lamps. It was not yet profitable for the existing power companies to serve electricity to rural areas. But, in 1935, the Rural Electrification Administration made it possible for rural communities to borrow federal money. They could then form local, consumer-owned electric companies.\u00a0 That\u2019s when Bartlett Electric Cooperative in Central Texas was born. It became the first in the nation to turn on the lights for its members. Today, Texas has 75 electric cooperatives. \u00a0They provide service to nearly 3 million member-consumers in 241 of the state's 254 counties. They operate as not-for-profit businesses governed by member-elected boards of directors. Boards set policies for the operation of the co-op system, including the rate charged to all customers. Since 2002, cooperatives can choose to participate in retail competition at any time. The board of directors has to adopt a resolution first. \u00a0Few have opted to do so before now for various reasons. That includes long-term financial contracts or loans and tax status with federal bonds. Good News for Cooperative Power Customers Coperative customers do have some good news, according to\u00a0Energy Ogre\u00a0CEO, Jesson Bradshaw. He believes co-ops are evolving with the needs of its customers. As Texas populations explode, many rural areas are now urbanized. Furthermore, \u00a0many co-ops are looking at alternative structures and making needed changes to serve its customers properly.\u00a0Yet, there will still be others that have a financial model that inhibits them from entering the competitive market. If you're in a co-op\u00a0or municipality, you do still have a voice. If you want to be in a competitive market, Bradshaw suggests you call or write your board or city council to share your opinion.