Welcome New Members to your Co-op! 

Welcome to Runestone Electric Association, your electric cooperative located in west-central Minnesota. Below you will find our online member handbook, which is your guide to your cooperative. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, contact us and we would be happy to help.

Helpful Links

Member Handbook

The Basics

 

Office Hours

Regular Hours:
Monday through Friday:
8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Summer Hours, Memorial Day through Labor Day:
Monday through Friday:
7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Contact Us

Phone: 320-762-1121

24/7 Line: 800-473-1722

Pay By Phone: 855-385-9907

Fax: 320-763-4149

General Email: rea@runestoneelectric.com

Mail: 6839 Power Ln SW, Alexandria, MN 56308

Visit Us
Visit us at our office located at 6839 Power Ln SW, Alexandria, MN. See the map below.

 

Power Outages

Runestone Electric has nearly 3,000 miles of power lines in its service territory. The cooperative makes every effort to minimize power outages through sound engineering practices and preventative maintenance. On the average, electricity is available to Runestone Electric members 99.97 percent of the time.

To report an outage, please call our 24/7 line at: 800-473-1722
That number is answered 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, including weekends and holidays.

Safety First!

Stay away from downed power lines, even if you are certain they are not energized. A line that was previously safe may become energized unexpectedly in the process of repairing damaged lines.

Keep a battery-powered radio on for outage related information. When necessary, outage messages are
broadcast on: KXRA 1490 AM, KX92.3 FM, Z-99.3 FM, KIKV 100.7 FM, KMRS 1230 AM, and KKOK 95.7 FM.

Service Calls

When a crew is dispatched and the member’s equipment is at fault, the member may be charged.

Life Support and Other Critical Loads

We need to be informed of special energy needs you may have, such as medical life-support systems or confined livestock. Every effort is made to consult these accounts when planned outages are necessary. Please call the REA office to be added to the list. Runestone Electric strongly urges all members with critical energy needs to purchase a standby generator. See REA’s Standby Generator Solutions »

 

Residential Rates
Paying Your Bill

REA bills are due on the 25th of the month. When the 25th falls on a weekend or holiday, the next business day is considered the due date. In the event the current bill is not paid by the 25th of the month, a 5% late payment charge will be added. This charge will be waived if the account has been paid on time the previous 12 months.

Sales Tax Exemptions

Electricity purchased by members and used for their primary source of residential heat are exempt from state sales tax for the billing months of November through April. In addition, some electricity purchased for use in agricultural and industrial production is exempt from state sales tax. Exemption forms are available through the cooperative’s billing department.

Contact us »

Late Payments

Bills not paid by the due date are subject to a late fee equal to 5% of the unpaid current billing balance. This charge will be waived if the account has a good payment record for the past 12 months.

No collection activity will take place upon a member’s failure to pay a one month bill unless there is an issue with previous payments being delinquent.

If no payment is received by the due date the following actions will take place:

  1. If the account has been sent a disconnect notice within the past 12 months, a final disconnect notice is issued giving 10 working days (20 calendar days from November 15 – April 15) to get a bill up to date.
  2. Prior to disconnection of service, a final attempt will be made to contact the consumer, either by phone or in person.

If you are having problems paying your electric bill, contact our billing department before your account becomes delinquent. They can provide you with advice on a payment plan to suit your specific situation.

Check out resources for financial assistance

Call Before you Dig

Always call 811 before you dig to have a professional come to your home and locate buried PUBLIC utility lines free of charge. No matter the size of a digging project, if you come into contact with a buried power line, you could be electrocuted or seriously injured.

Remember that utility power lines will be marked for free, up to your main meter. Underground powerlines from your main meter inward, however, are the responsibility of the member. Property owners need to call an electrician or a powerline locating company to have their private lines marked.

A list of private powerline locators can be found here »

Check out these examples of what the member is responsible for locating »

You can also request and view the status of your locate on-line. Call GSOC at 1-800-252-1166 or visit the website
at least 48 hours before you dig. It’s the law!

Understanding Your Bill

Example Bill Example Bill

A – Energy usage chart shows your energy consumption for the past 23 months.
B – Current mailing address
C – Total due on the due date
D – Usage period. Shows the dates of service covered by this bill
E – Service map location is used internally to identify the service location
F – Service address is the address where your meter is located
G – Savings from Off-Peak. Members with off-peak electric heat will see savings year round from electric heat and electric water heating.
H – Bill Messages contains issues pertaining to you and the cooperative.
I – Please tear off the bottom portion (at this perforation) and return it with your payment.
J – Your account number provides the office with the fastest means of account.
K – Due Date or Draft Date. Payment must reach our office before this date to avoid a late charge.
L – Phone numbers on file. If they are incorrect, please contact the REA office to correct.

 

 

Payment Options

Automatic Payments
From your checking, savings, debit or credit card. Contact the office for an Automatic Bank Pay form or use SmartHub to set up automatic payments.

Pay from Computer, Tablet or Smartphone
Using a check, credit or debit card. Click here to create an account on SmartHub. A free app is also available.

One Time Payment
Simply call 1-855-385-9907 24/7 – free of charge. You can also make a one time payment online by using the PayNow application.

Pay by Phone
Using check, credit or debit card simply call 1-855-385-9907 24/7 – free of charge.

Pay by Mail
Allow 5-7 business days if mailing a check to make sure it arrives at our office by the due date to avoid a late payment charge. We do not go by the postmark date.

Drive-up drop box
Located on east side of REA parking lot.

Pay in Person
Is paying face to face more your style? Visit our office to pay in person.

Budget Pay
REA averages your projected electric bills for the year and gives you a consistent monthly billing amount to pay each month. To qualify for budget pay, you must have been in residence at the same location for one year and be current with your bill.

Paperless Billing
View online statements instead of receiving a paper statement and monthly newsletter. Create an account on SmartHub to sign up for paperless billing.

We Accept Mastercard, Visa and Discover cards
We apologize that we are unable to accept credit card payments on large or small commercial accounts and irrigation accounts.

Online Account Management with SmartHub

Take control of your account 24/7 using SmartHub. SmartHub allows you to see your month to month, day to day, and hour to hour electric usage. It also allows you to pay your bill from anyplace, any time. An added bonus? It’s FREE!

With SmartHub, you can: 

  • Make a payment
  • View current and past bills
  • View energy usage
  • Analyze your past and current usage
  • Utilize tools to help you conserve energy
  • Go paperless
  • Sign up for automatic payment options

3 Easy Steps to Sign Up for SmartHub:

  1. Go to SmartHub.
  2. Click on “New User? Sign up to access our Self Service site.”
  3. Follow the prompts and press submit. You will need your account number and a valid email address. If you have multiple accounts, choose one account number to sign up under and all accounts will appear in your account.

Free App

Members with smartphones or tablets can download the SmartHub app from the App Store or Google Play. The app includes all the functions the website offers, plus its easily accessible while on the go!

Get Started with Smarthub Now »

 

Electrical Safety

Staying safe around electricity could save your life. Keep these tips in mind while around electrical equipment:

  • Stay away from power lines, meters, transformers and electrical boxes.
  • Don’t climb trees near power lines.
  • Never fly kites, remote control airplanes or balloons near power lines.
  • If you get something stuck in a power line, call Runestone Electric Association to remove it.
  • Keep a safe distance from overhead power lines when working with ladders or installing objects such as antennas.
  • Never touch or go near a downed power line.
  • Don’t touch anything that may be touching a downed wire, such as a car.
  • Keep children and pets away.
  • Call REA at 1-800-473-1722 to report downed power lines.

Stay Alive, Stay Inside
Only attempt to leave your vehicle if it is on fire. To exit safely:

  •  Jump out of the vehicle, making sure NO part of your body or clothing touches the ground and vehicle at the same time.
  • Land with both feet together and in small, shuffling steps, move at least 40ft. away from the vehicle.
  • The ground could be energized. Shuffling away with both feet together decreases the risk of electrical shock.
  • Remember to call 911 for help in either scenario!

Explore Electrical Safety »

Energy Management

 

Energy Wise Programs

Energy Wise programs are designed to control Runestone Electric’s peak demand for electricity, which usually occurs during the afternoon and early evenings of the hottest and coldest days of the year. These peaks have the greatest effect on our wholesale power cost which makes up over 50 percent of your monthly electric bill.

REA offers special, lower rates to those members who participate in our energy management programs, allowing certain electric loads to be turned off during these peak periods. Off-peak rates may apply to water heating, space heating and cooling, EV charging, and irrigation. Rebates are also available for some off-peak programs.

The easiest and best way to save money on your energy bill is to join Runestone Electric’s Energy Wise Programs. Depending on the program you choose, you can qualify for rebates, monthly credits or almost half-priced electricity.

Off-peak programs reduce the amount of wholesale energy the cooperative needs to purchase during peak use periods. We pass these savings onto you through lower electric rates. This helps keep electric rates stable for the long term.

Equipment on off-peak is wired to an energy management radio controller. The controller controls the equipment’s use during peak demand (usually in early evenings). Because of the way the program is designed, most members never notice their equipment being controlled. The difference shows up each month on their lower electric bill.

Energy Wise Rates »

Energy Wise Rebates »

 

Energy Start Rebates

Runestone Electric offers rebates to members who purchase certain appliances that bear the ENERGY STAR® label.
ENERGY STAR products save you money and help save the environment by reducing demand for our natural resources.
Check out our current appliance rebates »

Renewable Energy Options

Runestone Electric has a variety of renewable energy options available for its members. From a community solar garden, to wind and solar subscription plans available through REA’s power supplier, Great River Energy, to off-peak charging rates for electric cars, REA has an option to fit your needs.

Check our REA’s Renewable Energy Options »

Worry-Free Hot Water with a Storage Water Heater!

REA Energy Wise water heating program uses electricity efficiently to save you money. This program offers several high-efficiency storage water heater options and the use of electricity during non-peak usage times.

With a storage water heater from REA, your water heater will heat during the night until 6:00 AM Monday through Friday. Currently, weekends and holidays are control-free with the exception of peak demand events in which control times are typically between 4:00 – 10:00 p.m. if it is a control day. If you have a large family or use large quantities of hot water on weekdays, we can program your controller to heat for a few hours in the afternoon at no additional charge.

This program is for residential and agricultural use. Interest-free payment plans available. Price includes a mixing valve, controller and sales tax. Installation is not included.

Learn More »

Standby Generators

Are you considering a whole-house generator? REA has a solution through Briggs & Stratton.

Our state-of-the-art system allows you to purchase a smaller generator without giving up the conveniences of whole-house power.

By using the customized priority you set, your power is intelligently routed to priority one, then two, then three, and so on.

The generator automatically powers what you need when you need it most.

Benefits of Owning a Generator System
Our standby power systems are designed to provide peace of mind and keep your life uninterrupted. Lights stay on, the sump pump keeps running, and your furnace or AC keeps your family comfortable.

Features of a generator include:

  • Standby generator system intelligently powers your whole house
  • Generator automatically starts when the power goes out
  • Sold and installed by REA
  • From Briggs & Stratton – The Power Experts!
  • Equipped with Symphony® II Power Management – Allows you buy a smaller generator and still get the power you need to manage your whole house

Generator packages include the following:

  • Generator
  • DirectPower™ Automatic Transfer Switch
  • Basic installation
  • Cold weather kit and battery
  • Concrete pad
  • Remote indicator light
  • 12 months maintenance by REA

Contact REA’s Energy Management Department to set up a site visit for pricing, financing options, and installation details

Welcome to Your Co-op! 

 

What is a Cooperative?

For starters, electric co-ops are owned by those they serve. That’s why those who receive electric service from us are called members, not customers. Without members, there would be no Runestone Electric Association.

Members maintain democratic control of our co-op, which means they elect fellow members to represent them on the board of directors in the spring at our annual meeting. As a bonus, co-op members receive special benefits through programs like our Co-op Connections Card, and Energy Management Programs. When possible, margins (“dividends”) are returned to our members in the form of capital credit checks.

One principle that sets us apart from other businesses is our concern for community. As a cooperative, we have a special responsibility to support the areas in which our members live and work. From sponsoring local food shelves to supporting new jobs and industry through our economic development efforts, we stand as a driving force in our communities.

Of course, co-ops span all industries, including credit unions, dairy operations, health care, housing, and much more. There are more than 29,000 co-ops across the nation and not all are small or rural. Just look at nationally known co-ops like Sunkist, Ace Hardware, and Land O’ Lakes.

Overall, co-ops are more accessible than other types of businesses. We give our members a voice, and we are local—living and working alongside those we serve.

That’s the cooperative difference.

Cooperative Principles

Cooperatives around the world operate according to the same set of core principles and values, adopted by the International Co-operative Alliance. Cooperatives trace the roots of these principles to the first modern cooperative founded in Rochdale, England in 1844. These principles are a key reason that America’s electric cooperatives operate differently from other electric utilities, putting the needs of their members first.

  1. Open and Voluntary Membership
    Membership in a cooperative is open to all persons who can reasonably use its services and stand willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, regardless of race, religion, gender, or economic circumstances.
  2. Democratic Member Control
    Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. Elected representatives (directors/trustees) are elected from among the membership and are accountable to the membership. In primary cooperatives, members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote); cooperatives at other levels are organized in a democratic manner.
  3. Members’ Economic Participation
    Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital remains the common property of the cooperative. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing the cooperative; setting up reserves; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
  4. Autonomy and Independence
    Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control as well as their unique identity.
  5. Education, Training, and Information
    Education and training for members, elected representatives (directors/trustees), CEOs, and employees help them effectively contribute to the development of their cooperatives. Communications about the nature and benefits of cooperatives, particularly with the general public and opinion leaders, helps boost cooperative understanding. 
  6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives
    By working together through local, national, regional, and international structures, cooperatives improve services, bolster local economies, and deal more effectively with social and community needs.
  7. Concern for Community
    Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies supported by the membership.
Membership Guarantees

Exclusively for the members of REA

Service First

When you contact our office with any service or billing related question, we will respond within two working days,
guaranteed. This is our commitment to superior customer service. If we fail, we’ll apply a $20 credit to your electric service account.

Courtesy

Our staff is here to help you. If you are ever treated in a discourteous manner, your next month’s fixed charge is on us.

Yard Lights

Your (Runestone Electric owned) yard light is important, both to you and to us. When it fails, we will have it fixed within five working days from the time you notify us. If not, your following month’s yard light billing is free.

Satisfaction Guaranteed

Our bottom line is your satisfaction. Any time you feel that we have not performed up to your expectations, let us know. Our goal is simply to maintain the highest standard of service in the industry.

Statement of Nondiscrimination

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA (not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing deadlines vary by program or incident.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible Agency or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at https://www.ascr.usda.gov/filing-programdiscrimination-complaint-usda-customer and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) email: program.intake@usda.gov.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

Your Board of Directors

Runestone Electric Association’s rates and policies are the responsibility of an elected seven-member board of directors. As a cooperative member, you are entitled to vote for the director from your district every three years. Any member residing in the district may seek the position of district director. Your directors are your voice in the operation of your co-op. Current directors are located here »

Interested in becoming a director?
Check out the director qualifications »

Service Territory Map

Runestone Electric’s service territory is divided into seven districts. Each district elects a representative to serve a three-year term on the board of directors. The map shows districts as they are defined by township.Service Territory Map

Capital Credits

Capital credits are one of the great advantages of belonging to a cooperative such as Runestone Electric. As a member you are more than a customer. You are an owner of the cooperative and entitled to share in what’s left over after all expenses are paid. Your share of these margins is called capital credits.

At the end of the year, net margins are allocated to each member based on the amount of electricity purchased by his/her account during the year.

The board of directors decides when to retire capital credits based on the cooperative’s financial condition. In the meantime, Runestone Electric uses the money as working capital for operating and reinvesting in the cooperative. These funds are used to retire debt and to build equity, or ownership, for the members.

Should you move off the system, be sure to notify us of your new address and of any subsequent address changes. This will ensure that you receive your capital credit checks when your share of patronage is refunded.

Learn More »

Wholesale Power Suppliers

Great River Energy »

Runestone Electric is a member of another cooperative, Great River Energy (GRE) of Maple Grove, Minnesota. GRE is our generation and transmission cooperative delivering wholesale electric power to our substations. From the substations, Runestone Electric’s distribution lines carry the power to your home or business. GRE serves some of the fastest growing regions in Minnesota. GRE’s resource mix is very diverse totaling approximately 2,800 megawatts.

Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) »

Runestone Electric also receives power from WAPA or Western Area Power Administration. The energy we receive from WAPA is hydro

REA's Power Mix (2020)

Energy Mix Graph

REA's Subsidiaries

Heartland Security »
Owned by 14 electric cooperatives, including Runestone Electric Association, Heartland Security protects your home, your business, and your loved ones. You can rely on Heartland Security to safeguard what matters most to you.

Star Energy Service »
STAR Energy Services LLC is based in Alexandria, MN, with a branch office in La Crosse, WI. The company was formed in 1997 to provide electrical engineering services and operational support to rural electric utilities. They offer a variety of services to assist electric utilities with distribution of electricity as well as provide a variety of technology solutions to enhance delivery and reliability of electricity. Visit www.star-energy.com to learn more.

Get Involved!

 

Run for the Board of Directors

Each year districts elect directors. Districts 1 & 4 hold elections in one year, Districts 2 & 5 the following year, and Districts 3, 6 & 7 the year after that. When the district in which your membership resides is having an election, you may seek nomination to be a director candidate at the District Meetings held in January or February. Nomination by petition is also available with fifteen or more signatures from members in your district within fifteen days after the District Meeting. Please see the Director Qualifications »

Attend the Annual Meeting

REA holds an Annual Meeting to update members on how their co-op is doing financially and operationally, to elect directors, and to transact business. It is an opportunity for members to learn more about their co-op, ask questions, and learn more about programs offered by REA. Members are notified each year by mail and in the newsletter when and where the Annual Meeting will take place. Learn More »

Vote in Director Elections

We encourage ALL members to vote in director elections. REA holds a nomination process at our district meetings in which the names of qualifies candidates are placed on the ballot. Ballots are mailed to the members of the voting districts. Members can vote by mail or cast their vote by bringing their ballot to the Annual Meeting.
If, for any director election, there is only one nominee for a board position, so that the nominee is running unopposed, ballots will not be mailed, and the election will be determined by acclamation at the annual meeting.
Any questions on voting or elections can be answered by a phone call to the REA office at 1-800-473-1722.
Learn more about voting in director elections »

Member Advisory Council

Members are encouraged to participate in the Member Advisory Council. The Member Advisory Council is made up of three member representatives from each of the seven districts (see the Service Territory Map on page 9). Appointed by the district director, council members meet four times each year to review and discuss co-op operations and current issues. Please contact Runestone Electric if you would like to participate in the Member Advisory Council.

Learn More »

Operation Round Up®

As a Runestone Electric Association member, you have the opportunity to participate in Operation Round Up®, a program which provides financial assistance to non profit organizations such as first responders/fire departments, youth activities, education, emergency assistance and other community based projects in our service territory.

Each month, Runestone Electric ‘rounds up’ the electric bills of participating members to the next highest dollar and deposits the change in a community trust account. For example, if your bill is $83.73, our billing system rounds your bill up to $84 and the 27 cents is used for community causes.

The average contribution per participating member is $6.00 or about 50¢ per month. The most a member could contribute to the program in one year is $11.88.

The fund is administered by Runestone Electric Association Community Trust Board. The Trust Board is a group of members appointed by, but operating independently of, Runestone Electric’s Board of Directors.

Keep an eye out for the quarterly distributions in the REA member newsletter, Newsline.

Participation in Operation Round Up is voluntary. If you wish to participate, do nothing. Your contribution will be included on your future bills.

If you DO NOT wish to participate, please contact the REA office.

Learn More »

Co-op Connections® Card

Runestone Electric members can use this free discount card or key fob at participating businesses and pharmacies to receive valuable discounts.

Whenever a Co-op Connections cardholder – whether from REA or from one of the hundreds of Touchstone Energy co-ops across the country – shows the Co-op Connections card at a participating business, they receive a discount. Equally, those businesses benefit from increased customer visits by co-op members. Visit www.RunestoneElectric.com to learn more.

Snowbirds and travelers take note: the Co-op Connections Card is accepted across the country.
Visit www.connections.coop to track discounts available along your travel route (i.e. motels, restaurants, entertainment, recreation, etc.)

Learn More »

Attend the Pancake Feed

The end of August means many things to many people – back to school shopping, harvest season, the Douglas County Fair AND the annual Member Appreciation REA Pancake Feed. Held Saturday morning of the Douglas County Fair, the REA Operations Center plays host to the Pancake Feed. The Pancake Feed is the perfect opportunity to serve our members and their families a great breakfast. It’s also a fun day to visit with friends and neighbors.