February is a time for us to pause and reflect upon the relationships that we hold dear. Being a member of an electric cooperative means that your relationship with us goes well beyond providing you with the energy you need to power your lives every day.
The cooperative business model is the best one on earth. Our core business purpose is to serve as your electricity provider, but the larger mission of the co-op is to help make our corner of the world a better place. Our poles have roots and those roots run deep. We take pride in serving our member-owners because we are your neighbors, and we care very much about providing the highest level of friendly, reliable, and dependable service you expect and deserve.
Here are six reasons to love being a member of your electric cooperative.
Our mission. Electric co-ops were established to provide at-cost electric service. Providing safe, reliable, and affordable power has remained our mission since day one.
You are a member, not a customer. Cooperatives are unique businesses because they are owned by you, the member. This means you have a voice in the way we run the co-op. Members elect the co-op’s board of directors and can run for a seat on the board if they wish to do so. Your vote and participation help shape the direction of the cooperative.
We are not-for-profit. Unlike investor-owned utilities, which are operated to make the most profits for stakeholders, electric co-ops do not earn profits. Instead, any margins or revenue remaining (after all expenses have been paid) are returned to members in the form of capital credits. Capital credit returns are based on each member’s years of participation in the co-op.
We are local, community-focused businesses. Because we are owned by the members we serve, electric cooperatives have a strong commitment to our local communities. In addition to providing safe, reliable, and affordable power, electric co-ops are involved in local community development programs and projects, such as Habitat for Humanity, Relay for Life, Youth Tour (and other youth engagement programs), etc.
We are guided by a set of principles. All co-ops operate according to the same set of Seven Cooperative Principles: voluntary and open membership; democratic member control; members’ economic participation; autonomy and independence; education, training and information; cooperation among cooperatives; and concern for community. These principles guide every decision made by the co-op.
We are committed to innovation. Because we answer to local members rather than far-away shareholders, electric cooperatives are more nimble and able to respond quickly to changing member needs. We are committed to experimenting and innovating in ways that benefit the local communities and members we serve.
From all of us to all of our members, have a happy Valentine’s Day!