Community, East River Electric

Community

Shining a Light on the Value of Cooperatives

In the 1930s, nine out of ten homes in rural areas of the United States had no access to electrical power. As cities were growing economically, power companies focused their resources on developing urban areas. Rural America was quite literally left in the dark.

With the development of locally owned and operated electric cooperatives, the switch was flipped and rural communities began to gain power.

That power continues today as local energy cooperatives:

  • Distribute power to 75% of the United States landmass, utilizing over 2.4 million miles of power lines.
  • Serve more than 42 million people.
  • Employ over 67,000 American workers.
  • Own $97 billion in assets, bring in $34 billion in revenue and nearly $4 billion in wages.

The difference between private utility providers and these locally owned cooperatives is that your local Touchstone Energy® Cooperative has a strong commitment to community. The areas we serve are not just where we work, they are where our homes are, where our children attend school, where we make our lives.

The Seven Principles of Cooperatives

In order to ensure that cooperatives stay true to the communities they serve, Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives follow the Seven Cooperative Principles. These core principles outline the goals of the cooperative and also serve as guidelines for your local co-op board.

  1. Voluntary & 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. In primary cooperatives, members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and cooperatives at other levels are organized in a democratic manner.
  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. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing the cooperative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
  4. Autonomy & 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 & 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.

Scholar of the Week

Your local Touchstone Energy® Cooperative participates in the Touchstone Energy® Scholar of the Week program in coordination with KSFY television. A $100 award is presented to students within its service territory who have been chosen as a scholar of the week. Recipients are chosen based on academic, extracurricular and community achievements. In the spring, an end of the year banquet is held where each scholar in attendance has a chance to win a $1,000 college scholarship.

Take a look at some of our recent Scholar of the Week recipients.