Missoula Electric Cooperative (MEC) was founded in 1936 and is a member-owned rural electric cooperative serving electricity to members in Montana (six counties) and Idaho (one county).

Cooperatives differ from other businesses in that they are owned by their user-members and profits are returned to members according to usage. There are two types of cooperatives; "Producer Cooperatives, "​ where workers are the member-owners and "Consumer Cooperatives, "​ like Missoula Electric Cooperative, where those who use our services are member-owners. MEC is divided into seven districts and each district is represented by an elected official. These representatives serve on the Board of Trustees, which is the governing body and regulatory authority of the Cooperative.

According to a 2017 NRECA study, more than 900 cooperatives in 47 states provide electricity to 56% of the nation, making consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives unique within the $391 billion U.S. electric utility industry. By providing safe, affordable and reliable power, many cooperatives are significant economic drivers within their local communities.