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 2020:
    $2.1 billion
  • Miles of Transmission Lines: 1,824
  • Miles of Distribution Lines: 57,670
  • Service area: 55 of Mississippi’s 82 counties (over half of the state’s land mass)
  • Approximate number of members: 437,000 homes and businesses
  • 2020 Sales to Members: 9,656,694 MWh
  • Employees: 480 FTE

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 CEO

Jeff Bowman

Welcome to Cooperative Energy, formerly South Mississippi Electric Power Association. We were formed in 1941 with the mission of meeting the wholesale power requirements of seven, small electric power associations, all located 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 over one million Mississippians served by our 11 Member systems from the Mississippi Delta to the Gulf Coast.

The electric industry is changing at a rapid pace. Now more than ever, regulatory requirements, financial constraints, environmental considerations, and technological advancements are creating evolving challenges. Our workforce of over 450 men and women strive 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 is strong. We continue our dedication to safety excellence in our workforce. We embrace our role as leaders in the electric industry, mindful of how integral 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."

After exploring our website, please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Truly yours,

Jeff Bowman

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.


Jeff Bowman

Jeff assumed the role of President and Chief Executive Officer in November 2019 and is only the fourth person to serve as CEO in the cooperative’s history. He joined Cooperative Energy full-time in 2012 after serving as the organization's special counsel and board attorney since July 2004. Prior to assuming his current role, he served as the Cooperative’s senior vice president and chief administrative officer. Jeff earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a major in accounting from the University of Southern Mississippi, a Juris Doctor 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.

Christa Bishop-New

Christa Bishop
Executive Vice President
Chief Communications Officer

As Executive Vice President, Christa handles management responsibilities for the Cooperative Energy board of directors. As Chief Communications Officer, she oversees human resources, energy efficiency and distributed generation programs as well as all internal and external communication activities which include print and electronic media, audio/visual material, public relations, advertising, and social media outlets. She also publicly represents Cooperative Energy on the local, state, regional and national levels. Christa began in Cooperative Energy’s legal department in July 2008, originally serving as staff attorney before progressing to director of legal affairs. A Hattiesburg native, Christa is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and Mississippi College School of Law. She serves on the board of the Mississippi Energy Institute, Mississippi Economic Council and is a graduate of Leadership PineBelt and Leadership Mississippi.

Gary Hutson-new

Gary Hutson
Senior Vice President
Chief Operating Officer

As chief operating officer, Gary is responsible for managing Cooperative Energy’s system operations, computer systems and network security, control systems, business information systems, and communication systems. Gary began his career at Cooperative Energy in 2002 as transmission planning engineer before assuming the roles of system operations manager, director of operations and planning, and most recently vice president of power supply. He earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Mississippi State University and his master’s degree in business administration from William Carey University. He is a licensed Professional Engineer.


Thomas Hall
Senior Vice President
Chief Financial Officer

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, Tom 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. Tom 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.

Steve McElhaney-new

Steve McElhaney
Senior Vice President
Chief Compliance Officer

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.

Mark Smith-new

Mark Smith
Senior Vice President
Power Generation

Mark joined Cooperative Energy in 1998 as results engineer at the R. D. Morrow, Sr. Generating Station. During his tenure at Plant Morrow, he also served in various engineering, supervisory, and management roles including mechanical maintenance superintendent, operations superintendent, and plant superintendent. In 2019, he assumed his current role as senior vice president/power generation. His responsibilities include directing all aspects of Cooperative Energy owned generation resources, including the development and construction of new generation projects. Mark earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Mississippi State University.

Brad Wolfe-new

Brad Wolfe
Senior Vice President
Power Delivery

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.

Don Hinton-new

Don Hinton
Vice President
General Counsel

Don oversees the environmental group, supply chain & contract administration, facilities & security, and legal affairs, previously serving as director of legal affairs. Don joined Cooperative Energy in 2016 from the law firm of Pittman, Howdeshell and Hinton, PLLC, in Hattiesburg and had been in the private law practice for 20 years.  Don is a Hattiesburg native and obtained both his bachelor’s degree in biology and his law degree from UM. 

View a Timeline of Our History