What is an Electric Cooperative?
An electric cooperative is a private, non-profit company whose purpose is to deliver electricity to its customers or members. As a cooperative, they are required to fulfill two requirements including reinvesting revenue into their service area communities through stable rates and infrastructure or returning it to members through patronage capital. Cooperatives are also required to operate using a model of democracy.
Member-Owned and Operated
Because electric cooperatives are member-owned and operated, democratic processes allow them a vote in annual cooperative board elections of which elected directors are nominated from among the members. Cooperatives also encourage members to voice their thoughts and ideas within the company. Members maintain equal status and work together for the good of the community and adhere to these seven guiding principles:
- Voluntary and open membership
- Democratic member control
- Member economic participation
- Autonomy and independence
- Education, Training and information
- Cooperation among cooperatives
- Concern for community
The Advantages of Electric Cooperatives
Making the decision to join your local electric cooperative rather than continue to rely on commercial electrical utilities is an advantageous one that begins benefiting members right away. Some of these member benefits include:
- Upon joining an electrical cooperative, you are considered a member and owner rather than a customer.
- Electric cooperatives are service focused. They are dedicated to providing electricity to rural areas while commercial utility companies are hesitant because they can make more profit on in-town homes and businesses.
- Cooperatives follow democratic processes and allow each of their members to vote in board member elections, participate in policy making and influence the company in sharing their ideas and concerns.
- Cooperatives are community focused and work to improve the sustainability and well-being of their local and surrounding communities.
- Electric Cooperatives return their revenues or margins to cooperative members in the form of capital credits.
If you are interested in learning more about Barry Electric Cooperative or are ready to take your place as a valued Barry Electric Cooperative Member, contact us today! We are looking forward to seeing you at our next meeting!