What is a Cooperative?
Rural electric cooperatives power 56% of the nation's landmass and own and maintain 42% of U.S. electric distribution lines that serve our communities. They power over 20 million businesses, homes, schools and farms in 48 states and serve 42 million people across 2,500+ U.S. counties. There are approximately 834 electric distribution co-ops that are the foundation of America's electric cooperative network.
As a member of T.I.P. Rural Electric Cooperative, you are both a member and an owner. Our number one priority is to provide you with safe, reliable and affordable electricity. You can be assured that we will always do our best in running your cooperative. Evidence of this member-ownership is in the fact that all earnings above the cost of providing electric service are returned to you in the form of patronage dividends. Electric co-ops rank highest in member satisfaction among the three types of utilities. We believe this is because we serve member-owners, not customers and adhere to the Cooperative Principles.
7 Cooperative Principles
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.
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. In primary cooperatives, members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and cooperatives at other levels are organized in a democratic manner.
Members' Economic Participation
Members democratically control and equally contribute to the capital of their cooperative. Members may allocate surpluses for any of the following purposes: developing the cooperative; setting up reserves; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
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.
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.
Cooperation Among Cooperatives
Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
Concern for Community
While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.