Our History

Bringing power to remote rural areas was a formidable challenge in the 1950s, one that the utility companies of the day were not willing to undertake. Alberta farmers and ranchers turned to a co-operative solution by forming Rural Electrification Associations (REAs).

In true cooperative spirit, early members of Blue Mountain Power Co-op, originally known as Rocky REA, collaborated to do much of the work themselves to make rural electrification possible. Raising finances often involved members risking their properties as collateral.

Members also reduced costs by doing much of the labour themselves. This involved planning and mapping, clearing the lines, tamping the poles and installing the hardware. The challenge was made even greater by the incredibly wet conditions that existed in those early days.

A little about

Rural Electrification Associations

While Rural Electrification Associations were being built, the Alberta government was still struggling with the key policy decision — should power generation and transmission be publicly owned, as the Power Commission had suggested, or should it be privately owned? This question was put to a plebiscite in 1948, and Alberta residents narrowly voted in favour of the private option. With the question settled, the government continued what the private electric companies had already been promoting — thus encouraging the formation of REAs.

The first Rural Electrical Association was formed in 1947. By 1951, there were 356 REAs operating. They were, and still are, governed under the Rural Utilities Act. The Act prevented Alberta electricity cooperatives from expanding outside of their specified sphere; they could only serve agriculture farms. The customer definition in the Rural Utilities Act was so specific that it prevented REAs from servicing some of their original farm customers when they expanded or diversified into different farming operations such as feedlots, greenhouses, and dairies.

Recent regulatory changes and legal clarifications now allows for REAs to expand service to industry and commercial operations, including oil & gas companies. In response to these changes, Blue Mountain Power Co-op has developed an extensive suite of services specifically designed for oil & gas companies to provide timely, efficient, and cost-effective construction and maintenance of industrial electric distribution infrastructure.

A little about

Our History


Established in 1947, the Springbank REA was the first REA cooperative in Alberta. REAs, which are unique to Alberta, provide power for consumers in rural communities within a specific geographic boundary. Each REA has an elected board of directors that handles the business operations of the cooperative.


Blue Mountain Power Co-op, originally incorporated as the Rocky REA, was established in April of 1952. Lockhart REA was established in January of 1952 while Horseguard REA was established in February of 1953.


By the late 1960s, a total of 416 REAs had been established. However. over the decades the number of REAs declined due to amalgamations or sales.


Rocky REA greatly advances their ability to control their own operations and sustainability by acquiring the equipment, facilities, and human resources needed to become a self-operating REA. As a self-operating REA, Blue Mountain Power Co-op owns and controls their resources and operations.


Rocky REA and Lockhart REA amalgamate. At a special meeting held at Elks Hall in Leslieville, Alberta, the two associations decided it was in the interest of both REAs to join forces. The new Blue Mountain Power Co-op was formed with a combined membership of 2,440 members.


Rocky REA and Horseguard REA amalgamate. The decision to amalgamate was made by members at a special meeting held in September of 2005. The newly amalgamated cooperative retained the name Rocky REA, comprised of 3,003 members in total.


Rocky REA acquires and renovates the property two doors south of their administration building in order to set up a much needed operations facility.


In January 2019, Rocky Rural Electrification Association officially begins operating under the trade name Blue Mountain Power Co-op. The new name was more pronounceable, meaningful, and recognizable.


Previous to 2020, Blue Mountain Power Co-op could only serve farm and residential members. In 2020, an arbitration win gave Blue Mountain the right to serve all rural businesses. A much larger segment of the electricity market could now join Blue Mountain Power Co-op's membership.


The usable office space in Blue Mountain Power Co-op's administrative building is tripled. The building's interior undergoes a complete renovation to provide for a growing workforce in a growing and vibrant organization.

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