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.
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.
Meet Our Executive Leadership
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.
Please meet our executive staff…
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.
Executive Vice President
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.
Senior Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer
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.
Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer
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.
Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
A Cooperative Energy employee since 2007, Ray oversees the company’s treasury, investments, accounting, budget, risk management and business information systems activities. Before joining Cooperative Energy, Ray was vice president and manager of CoBank’s power supply group with responsibility for the bank’s relationships with generation and transmission cooperatives and investor owned utilities across the country. Ray’s prior experience includes project finance, corporate finance, and mergers and acquisitions in Atlanta, New York and Hong Kong. He holds a Master of Business Administration from The American Graduate School of International Management (“Thunderbird”), a Master of Arts in Asian studies from the University of Arizona, and a Bachelor of Arts from Syracuse University.
Senior Vice President, Communications
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.
Senior Vice President, Compliance
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.
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.
When it comes to serving our members, we get down to business.
Our mission is to deliver reliable and affordable energy to our members 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.
- Member focus
- Transparency and responsiveness
- Fiscal, regulatory and environmental compliance
- Safety and reliability
- Serve as a trusted and value-adding resource for member-owners
- 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
- Overall assets: $2,118,622,000
- Miles of transmission lines: 1,755
- Miles of distribution lines: 57,010
- Service area: 55 of Mississippi’s 82 counties (over half of the state’s land mass)
- Approximate number of members: 423,000 homes and businesses
- 2014 sales to members: 10,257,114 MWh
- Employees: 427
A little more about us
- Rates reflect only the cost of supplying wholesale energy
- Headquartered in Hattiesburg
Learn more about the Power of 12, our network of electric cooperatives
An electrifying timeline
Ready to time-travel? Take a trip with us through history to see how your electric cooperative started.
1935Announcement Date : Jan 1 , 1935
Less than one percent of rural Mississippians have electricity. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt creates the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) by Executive Order.
1936Announcement Date : Jan 1 , 1936
Congress passes the Rural Electrification Act, which provides low-cost loans to fund the electric power infrastructure in rural America.
1936 – The Mississippi legislature enacts the Electric Power Association Act to help foster the development of rural electrification in the state.
April 4, 1941Announcement Date : Apr 4 , 1941
South Mississippi Electric (SME) was organized by Coast Electric, Jones County Electric (now Dixie Electric), East Mississippi Electric, Magnolia Electric, Pearl River Valley Electric, Singing River Electric, and Southern Pine Electric in a meeting held in the Forrest Hotel in Hattiesburg, Miss.
April 8, 1941Announcement Date : Apr 9 , 1941
SME receives official Charter of Incorporation from the Secretary of State.
October 1941Announcement Date : Oct 1 , 1941
The REA approves a $2.1 million loan for SME to construct a power plant fired by pine wood chips on the Pearl River in Columbia, Miss.
December 7, 1941Announcement Date : Dec 7 , 1941
Pearl Harbor is bombed and the U.S. enters World War II. All non-war construction ceases, including construction of SME’s first plant.
1947Announcement Date : Mar 14 , 1947
Southwest Mississippi Electric joins SME.
1958Announcement Date : Jan 1 , 1958
The organization appoints J.T. Dudley, Sr. as part-time general manager.
March 1960Announcement Date : Mar 1 , 1960
SME applies for its first Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity in order to construct its first power plant. New plans are to build a natural gas-fired plant in Jones County, Miss.
March 1963Announcement Date : Mar 14 , 1963
The Mississippi Public Service Commission issued to SME its first Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. This allows SME to construct its own generation assets.
Mississippi Power Company and Mississippi Power and Light oppose SME’s ownership of generation assets. A lengthy court battle ensues between SME and the investor-owned utilities (IOUs).
August 29, 1967Announcement Date : Aug 29 , 1967
The REA releases funds to SME for the construction of the organization’s first baseload plant.
September 14, 1967Announcement Date : Sep 14 , 1967
SME opens the first headquarters location in the Humble Oil Building in Hattiesburg, Miss.
1967Announcement Date : Oct 14 , 1967
J.T. Dudley, Sr. completes his part-time role with SME. George B. Taylor, Sr. is named the organization’s first full-time general manager. SME hires its first employees.
1968Announcement Date : Mar 14 , 1968
The U.S. Supreme Court refuses the requests of the IOUs to rehear or reverse the case, clearing the way for SME to build and own generation assets. SME WINS!
1969Announcement Date : Mar 14 , 1969
Benndale Station, a natural gas-fired 16.2 MW unit, is constructed in George County, Miss.
August 1, 1970Announcement Date : Aug 1 , 1970
Plant Moselle begins commercial operation in Moselle, Miss. The plant boasts three 59 MW, natural gas-fired generators.
1970Announcement Date : Oct 14 , 1970
SME owns 730 miles of right of way and serves 100,000 members in 18 counties through 52 member substations. Member systems include: Dixie Electric, Magnolia Electric, Pearl River Valley Electric, Singing River Electric, Southern Pine Electric and Southwest Mississippi Electric.
1972Announcement Date : Mar 14 , 1972
Paulding Station is constructed in Jasper County, Miss. The diesel-fired unit generates 20.6 MW.
1973Announcement Date : Mar 14 , 1973
SME’s headquarters operations moves to its current location on Highway 49 in Hattiesburg, Miss.
1974Announcement Date : Mar 14 , 1974
SME is awarded a $168 million REA loan for the construction of a coal-fired plant in Lamar County, Miss. SME purchases 17,000 acres in Kentucky for the plant’s fuel supply.
1976Announcement Date : Mar 14 , 1976
Construction of the Control Center is completed at Headquarters.
1978Announcement Date : Mar 14 , 1978
The R.D. Morrow, Sr. Generating Station begins commercial operation in Purvis, Miss. The plant houses two 200 MW units fired by Appalachian coal.
Coast Electric rejoins SME as a Member system.
April 16, 1980Announcement Date : Apr 16 , 1980
SME agrees to 10 percent ownership of Grand Gulf Nuclear Station, the only nuclear plant to be constructed in the state.
September 24, 1980Announcement Date : Sep 24 , 1980
Coahoma Electric, Delta Electric, Twin County Electric and Yazoo Valley Electric join SME. SME now serves Mississippians from the Coast to the Delta.
1985Announcement Date : Jan 1 , 1985
Grand Gulf Nuclear Station becomes commercially operational in Port Gibson, Miss. The one unit nuclear facility produces a total capacity of 1,250 MW. SME’s capacity is 125 MW.
George B. Taylor, Sr. retires. Henry Thomas is named SME’s second full-time general manager.
1997Announcement Date : Mar 14 , 1997
Unit 4 is constructed at Plant Moselle.
August 20, 2003Announcement Date : Aug 20 , 2003
Plant Moselle is dedicated to J.T. Dudley, Sr. and renamed the J.T. Dudley, Sr. Generation Complex.
2003Announcement Date : Oct 14 , 2003
Sylvarena Station is constructed in Smith County, Miss. The site boasts three natural gas-fired units producing a total capacity of 141 MW.
George B. Taylor, Sr. Generating Station is constructed in Jefferson Davis County, Miss. The site’s three units generate 250 MW fueled by natural gas.
2004Announcement Date : Jan 1 , 2004
Henry Thomas retires. James Compton is named SME’s third full-time general manager.
August 29, 2005Announcement Date : Aug 29 , 2005
Hurricane Katrina strikes Mississippi and wreaks havoc on the SME system.
September 7, 2005Announcement Date : Sep 7 , 2005
Service is restored to all Member substations a mere nine days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall.
2006Announcement Date : Mar 14 , 2006
Unit 5 is constructed at Plant Moselle.
2008Announcement Date : Mar 14 , 2008
The Field Operations Center is completed five miles north of Headquarters and dedicated in honor of Henry Thomas.
May 2008Announcement Date : May 14 , 2008
SME becomes a charter member of the National Renewables Cooperative Organization.
2009Announcement Date : Mar 14 , 2009
Headquarters Control Center moves from its original location to the John Carley Operations Center.
December, 2010Announcement Date : Dec 14 , 2010
SME’s annual sales exceed 10 million MWh for the first time.
April 1, 2011Announcement Date : Apr 1 , 2011
SME assumed generation responsibilities for thirteen Member delivery points in the MPC transmission area totaling approximately 150MW of load.
October 15, 2012Announcement Date : Oct 15 , 2012
The Moselle Repower Project enhanced the existing generation resources at the J.T. Dudley, Sr. Generation Complex (Plant Moselle), improving the efficiency of two of the plant’s original three 59 MW steam units by 35 percent while adding approximately 160 MW of new capacity.
December, 2012Announcement Date : Dec 14 , 2012
The Batesville Generating Station is purchased in Panola County, Miss. The natural-gas fired facility houses three units capable of producing a total of 837 MW.
December 18, 2013Announcement Date : Dec 18 , 2013
SME integrates into MISO, a regional transmission organization.
2016Announcement Date : Mar 14 , 2016
Five 100 kW solar sites are constructed at Member systems across the state.
2016 – Legislation is passed to revise the Electric Power Association Act to recognize generation and transmission cooperatives such as SME.
April, 2016Announcement Date : Apr 14 , 2016
SME celebrates its 75th Anniversary.
Nov 9, 2016Announcement Date : Nov 9 , 2016
SME changes its name to Cooperative Energy to reflect its growing service to the state of Mississippi.