Company Information

Northern Lights, Inc. has a long and rich history in northern Idaho and western Montana, the area it has served since 1935. When it was established more than 80 years ago as Northern Idaho Rural Electrical Rehabilitation Association, it was the first rural electric cooperative west of the Mississippi River. Today it is one of the largest rural electric cooperatives in Idaho with over 16,500 members and approximately 2,800 miles of distribution line.

Northern Lights was organized to bring electricity to those rural areas investor-owned utilities would not serve. That philosophy still holds true today. As a not-for-profit corporation, Northern Lights is owned by its members and is governed by a seven-member Board of Directors. When it was formed, there were three board members and 248 rural families committed to obtaining power. Northern Lights is located at its Sagle headquarters at 421 Chevy Street, Sagle, Idaho.

Northern Lights is one of more than 900 rural electric cooperatives serving 42 million people in rural areas of 47 states. Cooperatives nationwide average only 6 consumers per mile of line. Northern Lights averages seven members per mile of line, whereas investor-owned utilities such as Avista serve as many as 50 or more customers per mile. The lower density of customers means that a smaller number of people share the operating expenses and the expense of building and maintaining lines. Another factor is that rural electric cooperatives often operate in rural, rugged terrain which impacts costs as well.

Even so, Northern Lights has an impressive record of providing electric service to its members in a more efficient and cost-effective manner than many investor-owned utilities.