Sangre de Cristo is Your Local Power Source

As we start the new year, we thought it would be good to review who we are as your local electric cooperative. Here is some background on Sangre de Cristo Electric. Sangre de Cristo Electric Association, Inc. is:

  • A private, independent electric utility business
  • Owned by the consumers we serve
  • Incorporated under the laws of Colorado
  • Not-for-profit
  • Governed by a board of directors that you elect from the membership

Programs, Services, and Benefits of being a Member of Sangre de Cristo Electric:

  • A live operator answers our phones
  • 24-hour outage and emergency service
  • Online bill pay
  • Automatic bill pay options
  • Local customer, operations and member services representatives
  • Operation Roundup — a community service fundraising program
  • Safety demonstrations • Informational presentations
  • Renewable resources program — you can purchase blocks of green power
  • Energy efficiency credits for appliances and electric heating
  • Youth opportunities — Youth Tour, scholarships
  • Monthly Colorado Country Life newsletter

Sangre de Cristo Electric Association, Inc. has roughly 12,500 consumer-members who mutually own this rural electric cooperative — that is you, our account holders. SDCEA has been in business for 77 years. Unlike an investor-owned utility, we are not-for-profit.

Rural electric cooperatives started when President Franklin Roosevelt signed an executive order in 1936 establishing the Rural Electrification Administration. With the help of REA financial and engineering resources, rural people organized a network of electric cooperatives to build and operate electric utility systems in their own communities. The for-profit investor-owned firms who electrified the cities chose not to serve rural Americans because they could not make a profit in the sparsely populated areas. Rural electrification became one of the great success stories of the New Deal.

In 1940, 10 progressive residents of the Upper Arkansas and Wet Mountain Valleys pooled their ideas and efforts to form Sangre de Cristo Electric Association. Our little co-op energized just over 14 miles of line by August 1942 and installed the first meters in December of that year. Today we maintain more than 1,700 miles of line in Lake, Chaffee, Fremont, Custer and Saguache counties. A board of directors made up of members from throughout the system governs SDCEA. As a member, you can vote for directors every June, and you’re even eligible to run for a director seat when a term expires in your area.

We’re headquartered in Buena Vista. Our office is located just north of town on Highway 24. In addition, a four-man crew, a staking engineer and a warehouse worker/ custodian work out of our Westcliffe warehouse.

Nearly 1,000 rural electric co-ops provide safe, convenient power to rural residents across America. Each co-op is individually owned and operated, but we’re all committed to providing the best electric service in an economical manner. With your membership in SDCEA, you joined a “powerful” family.

Board of Directors:

  • President: Donald L. Kaufman, Custer County
  • Vice President: Joseph Redetzke, Director At Large
  • Secretary: Suzanne Kelly, Rural Chaffee/Lake County
  • Treasurer: Charles A. Abel II, Rural Chaffee /Lake County
  • Dan Daly, At Large
  • Geoff Gerk, Fremont County
  • Dennis Dlugokinski, Town of Buena Vista


  • Paul A. Erickson, Chief Executive Officer
  • Sarah McMahon, Chief Administrative Officer
  • Donnie Schell, Chief Financial Officer
  • Patrick Bernhardt, Chief Operations Officer