About Us

Not-for-profit, member-owned, locally led. And community-driven.

Electric cooperatives are unique because we’re owned by our customers and driven to make a difference, not a profit. At the end of the year, remaining funds, or capital credits, go back to you. Here’s more information on how we work for you.

Who We Are

When it comes to serving our members, we get down to business.

Cooperative Energy’s Mission is to deliver to our Members reliable and affordable energy in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. This is accomplished by focusing on the core fundamentals of power generation, power purchasing, power delivery and fuel risk mitigation while achieving the highest levels of safety, reliability and economics.

Core values

  • Member focus
  • Transparency and responsiveness
  • Fiscal, regulatory and environmental compliance
  • Safety and reliability
  • Serve as a trusted and value-adding resource for member-owners

Competitive Strengths

  • An experienced, skilled workforce
  • A long-term contractual relationship with member systems
  • Financial health, including that of members
  • Long-range planning for cost-effective generation resources
  • Fuel diversity in generation resources

By the Numbers

  • Total assets year end 2017: $1,902,551,000
  • Miles of transmission lines: 1,812
  • Miles of distribution lines: 56,762
  • Service area: 55 of Mississippi’s 82 counties (over half of the state’s land mass)
  • Approximate number of members: 427,000 homes and businesses
  • 2017 sales to members: 9,616,043 Mwh
  • Employees: 452

A Little More About Us

  • Member-owned
  • Not-for-profit
  • Rates reflect only the cost of supplying wholesale energy
  • Headquartered in Hattiesburg

Learn more about the Power of 12, our network of electric cooperatives

A Message from our President/CEO

Jim Compton, Cooperative Energy President/CEO

Welcome to Cooperative Energy, formerly South Mississippi Electric Power Association. We are a homegrown story. We began in 1941 with the mission of meeting the wholesale power requirements of seven small electric power associations, all in South Mississippi.

Today, in a complex, ever-changing energy world, our mission for our Members remains the same, but the size of our job is much bigger: We now provide reliable, affordable electric power to about one million Mississippians served by our eleven Member systems from the Delta to the Coast.

After our 75 years as South Mississippi Electric Power Association, we realized we outgrew our name, but we will never outgrow our mission and the values we stand for. That is why, as of November 9, 2016, we are proud to be known as Cooperative Energy.

Now more than ever, regulatory requirements, financial constraints, environmental considerations, and technological advancements are creating evolving challenges. The electric industry is changing, and the rate of change is accelerating. The men and women of Cooperative Energy are striving not only to meet the demands of change but to convert them into opportunities. That process requires disciplined, focused management of our facilities, resources, and operations. Our Members and their consumers demand and deserve no less.

Cooperative Energy’s tradition and history are strong. We understand and embrace our role as leaders in the electric industry, mindful of how important our service is to the quality of life we enjoy in our state and our region. Every day, as a system of cooperatives dedicated to growing Mississippi, we strive to maximize “The Power of 12”.

I invite you to explore our website. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Truly yours,

James Compton

Meet Our Executives

Our President/CEO and executive staff carry out Cooperative Energy’s daily operations in six main divisions – General Operations, Administration, Finance, Power Delivery, Compliance, and Communications.

Jim Compton

James Compton
Chief Executive Officer

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Jim became the general manager and CEO of Cooperative Energy in 2004. Prior to assuming his current position, he served as Cooperative Energy’s board attorney for more than 12 years and also performed additional extensive legal work for Cooperative Energy. Jim graduated from Jefferson County High School in Fayette, Mississippi, received his bachelor’s degree from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, and earned a law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law. During his career, Jim has served on boards for Trustmark Bank, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and the Electric Power Associations of Mississippi. He also served as chairman of the Hattiesburg Area Development Partnership (ADP) and was involved in Biloxi city government as a councilman, city prosecutor, city attorney, and municipal court judge.

Terry Lee, Executive Vice President

Terry Lee
Executive Vice President

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A Cooperative Energy employee for 38 years, Terry is a native of Greenwood, Mississippi, and graduated from Greenwood High School. He continued his education at Mississippi State University earning a Bachelor of Science in engineering. Terry worked in Birmingham with an electric utility for five years while also earning his Master of Science in engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He achieved his Professional Engineer (PE) license in 1977. Terry began his career with Cooperative Energy in 1978, progressed to manager of engineering, and then chief engineering officer before assuming his current role.

Jeff Bowman

Jeff Bowman
Senior Vice President
Chief Administrative Officer

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Jeff joined Cooperative Energy full-time in 2012 after serving as the organization’s special counsel and board attorney since July 2004.  He continues to serve as board attorney and oversees Cooperative Energy’s legal affairs, human resources, land management, economic development, supply chain, and public policy.  Jeff earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Southern Mississippi, a law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law, and a Master of Laws in taxation from the University of Florida.  His career accomplishments include service as an officer in the U.S. Army, a military prosecutor and a special assistant U.S. attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.  Before joining Cooperative Energy, Jeff was a partner in the law firm of Jackson, Bowman & Arrington, PLLC, of Hattiesburg.

Nathan Brown, SVP and COO

Nathan Brown
Senior Vice President
Chief Operating Officer

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Nathan is responsible for managing the activities of Cooperative Energy’s power plants and their environmental compliance, fuel procurement, system planning and operations, control systems, communications systems, power marketing and wholesale services groups within the organization. He has also served as the manager of power supply as well as director of transmission planning. Before joining Cooperative Energy in 1993, Nathan worked at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi, as an electrical engineer. Nathan holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in electrical engineering from Mississippi State University and is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Mississippi.

Tom Hall

Thomas Hall
Senior Vice President
Chief Financial Officer

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Thomas “Tom” is responsible for oversight, direction, and leadership of the Cooperative’s accounting, payroll, budgeting, financial forecasting, risk management, insurance, and treasury functions. Tom joined Cooperative Energy after 12 years at National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC) where he served as the director of relationship management. Prior to his role, Hall was a regional vice president at CFC and also worked at National Rural Electric Cooperative Association as senior principal of strategy and business planning and also director of programs. He also has experience at PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, and American Express Corporate Services. Hall earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Richmond and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Christa Bishop

Christa Bishop
Senior Vice President
Communications and Marketing

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Christa oversees all internal and external communication activities which include print and electronic media, audio/visual, public relations, advertising, and social media outlets. She also publicly represents Cooperative Energy on the local, state, regional and national levels. Bishop began in Cooperative Energy’s legal department in July 2008, originally serving as staff attorney before progressing to director of legal affairs. Christa, a Hattiesburg native, is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and Mississippi College School of Law. She serves on the board of the Mississippi Energy Institute and is a 2009 graduate of Leadership PineBelt. Prior to joining Cooperative Energy, Bishop was in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia.

Steve McElhaney

Steve McElhaney
Senior Vice President

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Steve is responsible for compliance with all regulatory activities including Safety, NERC/FERC compliance and financial/audit compliance. Steve has been with Cooperative Energy for more than nine years. Previously, he worked 15 years at Florida Municipal Power Agency and 10 years at Houston Lighting and Power in the operations and control center operations. Steve holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Auburn University and a Doctor of Philosophy in industrial system and engineering from Mississippi State University.

Brad Wolfe

Brad Wolfe
Senior Vice President
Power Delivery

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A 21-year Cooperative Energy employee, Brad oversees the operation, maintenance, design, and construction of Cooperative Energy’s transmission system. This includes the geographical information system (GIS), surveying, system protection, metering, substation and line maintenance, substation and line design, and right of way (ROW) maintenance. He also oversees the organization’s fleet maintenance and facilities maintenance at headquarters and the field operations center, where he also serves as facility manager. A native of Mobile, Alabama, Brad obtained a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the University of South Alabama. Prior to joining Cooperative Energy, Brad worked for the University of Southern Mississippi and Mississippi Power Company.

View a Timeline of Our History

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