The Cooperative Difference
Each October, cooperatives throughout the country celebrate National Cooperative Month. Cooperatives were created in 1936 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Rural Electrification Act. Today, there are 834 distribution cooperatives and 63 generation cooperatives serving more than 42 million people across the United States.
The Benefits of Membership
- Cooperative members are owners of their utility, not just customers.
- Cooperative leaders know the communities they serve because they
are part of them.
- The elected board of trustees gives members a say in the running of
- As not-for-profit utilities, the good of the members is the first
priority for cooperatives.
The Seven Cooperative Principles
- Open Membership — Membership is open to anyone ready to accept the responsibilities that come with it.
- Democratic Control — Cooperatives are democratically controlled by members who actively participate.
- Economic Participation — Members contribute to the cooperative and share in its benefits in proportion to those transactions.
- Autonomy — Cooperatives are independent organizations and can only enter agreements with member support.
- Education — Cooperatives educate members and representatives about the electric industry so they can make informed decisions.
- Cooperation — Cooperatives work together to improve service and overcome major outages.
- Concern for Community— Cooperatives work to develop their communities with member-supported policies.