An old black and white photo of a man posing with his truck.About Us

In 1937 only about 10% of Central Virginia's citizens in rural areas had electric service. In order to meet the need for rural access to electricity, a group of citizens in the Rockfish Valley area of Nelson County decided to explore the possibilities of forming an electric cooperative. They borrowed funds from the newly established Rural Electrification Administration (REA) to construct their own electric service system. Strong interest and rapid growth resulted in the formation of a county-wide organization. The application for a cooperative charter was executed at a well-attended meeting on September 20, 1937, at Lovingston High School. L.C. Dawson, S.T. Rodes, G.H. Whitehead, James Sites, F.R. Moon, and Fred Schilling were early proponents of the effort, and their leadership was rewarded when the State Corporation Commission granted the charter on September 22, 1937. Central Virginia Electric Cooperative was formed. 

A aerial view of the CVEC headquarters.

The directors of the new cooperative held their first board meeting an October 28, 1937, where they adopted the first Bylaws and authorized the signing of a contract to buy power from the Virginia Farm Power Board, Inc. Also at this meeting the board members signed applications for service and paid their $5 membership fees, thus becoming the first applicants for service from the Cooperative. 


CVEC serves homes and businesses in portions of 14 counties in Central Virginia.
A map showing the grid of CVEC's power lines.

  • Albemarle
  • Amherst
  • Appomattox
  • Augusta
  • Buckingham
  • Campbell
  • Cumberland
  • Fluvanna
  • Goochland
  • Greene
  • Louisa
  • Nelson
  • Orange
  • Prince Edward

Cooperative Principles

Cooperatives worldwide generally operate using the same principles as adopted in 1995 by the International Cooperative Alliance. The principles are part of a cooperative statement of identity, which also includes the definition of a cooperative and a list of cooperative values.

Definition: A cooperative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically controlled enterprise.

Values: Cooperatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, cooperative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility, and caring for others.

All cooperative businesses adhere to these seven guiding principles:

1. Voluntary and Open Membership - Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political, or religious discrimination.

2. Democratic Member Control - Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. The elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary cooperatives, members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and cooperatives at other levels are organized in a democratic manner.

3. Members' Economic Participation - Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership.

Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing the cooperative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.

4. Autonomy and Independence - Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their cooperative autonomy.

5. Education, Training, and Information - Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public, particularly young people and opinion leaders, about the nature and benefits of cooperation.

6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives - Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures.

7. Concern for Community - While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work
for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted
by their members.

From its modest beginning in 1937, Central Virginia Electric Cooperative has become one of the major businesses in rural Central Virginia, serving nearly 35,000 members on almost 4,600 miles of line. The Cooperative employs over 105 people to operate the business and to provide dependable low-cost electric service throughout its 14-county Central Virginia area.

The utility business has changed rapidly in the past 80 years, but your Cooperative is still working to provide the most reliable service at the most affordable price to our members. If you tend to take your Co-Op for granted, then that means that the company is fulfilling its mission:

"Working together to improve the quality of life for our members
in a quietly impressive way."