Electric cooperatives power 56% of the nation’s landmass—from booming suburbs to remote rural farming communities. Unlike investor-owned and municipal utilities, the purpose of a cooperative—above all else—is to provide reliable, affordable electric service to its membership. In recognition of National Co-op Month in October, let’s take a look at the ways the cooperative model differs from other utilities.
You’re a member, not a customer.
Cooperatives are unique 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 focus on service, not profits.
Unlike investor-owned utilities, which are operated to make the most profits for stakeholders, electric co-ops do not earn profits. Instead, any margins remaining (after all expenses have been paid) are returned to members in the form of capital credits.
We’re local and community-focused.
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 many local community development programs.
We’re committed to innovation.
We answer to local members rather than far-away shareholders, and are 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.