The nation’s first statewide trade association for electric cooperatives, the Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association (WECA) was officially organized on April 30, 1936.
The services WECA has provided to Wisconsin’s electric cooperatives have varied over the decades. It once housed an engineering department to assist in construction of rural electric distribution systems. It has provided insurance coverage, and sold household appliances and electrical construction materials for use by member cooperatives. Appliance sales ended long ago. The insurance and materials sales have spun off to other cooperative enterprises with WECA playing a central role in their formation. Today, WECA specializes in government advocacy on behalf of Wisconsin electric cooperatives, safety and regulatory services, education in cooperative governance for its co-ops leaders and their employees. WECA leads wide-ranging communications efforts designed to inform those responsible for co-op management and operations as well as the membership at large, regarding industry developments and policy issues of interest and concern to electric cooperatives and the member-owners they serve.
In 2013 the WECA Board of Directors adopted a mission statement summing up the goal of the statewide organization’s service as supporting electric cooperatives’ efforts “to improve the quality of life for their members.” The board also adopted a statement saying the organization would carry out this broad remit “by providing leadership on key legislative and regulatory issues, fostering a positive image of electric cooperatives, and supporting quality of life in communities through education and training services."