Little Rock, Ark. — Aug. 20, 2013 — The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas are performing a mission from their history books by bringing electricity to rural residents, but this time the residents live in Guatemala. The Arkansas cooperatives are assisting the NRECA International Foundation with the project.

“Electric cooperatives were originally formed to provide reasonably priced electric service to rural Americans that otherwise would be unable to afford electricity,” said Duane Highley, president and chief executive officer of the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. “Electricity provided by electric cooperatives transformed lives in the 1940s. Over the next two years we will assist in transforming the lives of the residents of four remote villages in Huehuetenango, Guatemala.”

He said the Arkansas electric cooperatives and ERMCO are donating materials, labor and funds to assist with the project. Cooperative crews will assist in construction of electric distribution line, related infrastructure and provide some training to local line workers.

“Today, 1.5 billion people around the world still do not have access to electricity,” said Ingrid Hunsicker, NRECA International Foundation Manager. “Electricity encourages educational and economic opportunities, paving a pathway for expanded healthcare services and more reliable water treatment facilities. Electricity raises the standard of living in communities around the globe. We truly appreciate the cooperative spirit of the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas toward this great project.”

The NRECA International Foundation is working in Latin America, Africa and Asia to provide access to reliable, safe, and affordable electricity in remote rural areas.

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas comprise 17 electric distribution cooperatives; Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based cooperative that provides services to the distribution cooperatives; and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC), a generation and transmission cooperative. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to approximately 500,000 homes, farms and businesses in Arkansas and surrounding states.

For additional information, contact:
Rob Roedel, Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, 501.570.2296 or