The Cooperative Difference


Why Cooperatives are Special

Electric cooperative members are also owners. That means that the any profits the cooperatives make go right back into our member’s pockets as savings on power costs.
 
The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas are uniquely set apart from other electric companies because they are owned by its consumers and governed by seven guiding principles. Additionally, the cooperatives are a member of a national alliance of local, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, NRECA or the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. NRECA is the national service organization for more than 900 not-for-profit rural electric cooperatives and public power districts providing retail electric service to more than 42 million consumers in 47 states and whose retail sales account for approximately 12 percent of total electricity sales in the United States.

Cooperatives adhere to seven guiding principles:

  1. Voluntary and Open Membership – Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
  2. Democratic Member Control – Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. The elected representatives are accountable to the membership.
  3. Members’ Economic Participation – Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative. 
  4. Autonomy and Independence – Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their cooperative autonomy.
  5. Education, Training, and Information – Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public, particularly young people and opinion leaders, about the nature and benefits of cooperation.
  6. Cooperation among Cooperatives – Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures.
  7. Concern for Community – While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members. The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas work hard for their communities because they are a part of the communities they serve.