The Brown County Rural Electrical Association has joined with 11 other electric cooperatives to form the Southern Minnesota Electric Cooperative. Brown County REA General Manager Wade Hensel says that by purchasing Alliant Energy and forming the electricity-buying partnership it will give the REA and the other co-ops the ability to spread out their costs. Hensel says that all 12 co-ops have served southern Minnesota for more than 70 years. The list includes Brown County REA, BENCO Electric Cooperative, Federated Rural Electric, Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services, Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative, Nobles Cooperative Electric, People’s Energy Cooperative, Redwood Electric Cooperative, Sioux Valley Energy, South Central Electric Association, Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric, and Tri-County Electric Cooperative. The transaction is contingent upon regulatory approval, and is expected to close in 2014.