Cooperative Principle #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.
Your Money Stays at Home
Who owns your electricity provider?
If you’re a member of CECA, you can find the answer by looking in the mirror. At CECA, like any other cooperative across the country, you, the members, are the owners. That follows Cooperative Principle No. 3: Members’ Economic Participation.
Being an owner, however, doesn’t mean that you can drive to your neighborhood substation and take home a transformer or chop down a pole carrying wires to your house. These assets are owned collectively by all of us. A portion of the bill you pay each month goes into building the infrastructure—the poles, the wires and the substations—that bring you a steady supply of electricity.
Your cooperative, CECA, does business locally. The investments we make in infrastructure don’t benefit someone in an area away from our co-op. The benefit stays right here in our communities.
Your payments do more than build lines, buy equipment and pay for wholesale electricity. They also pay the salaries of our hard-working employees, who live right here in the community. They, in turn, spend their salaries at local businesses, spreading that money around and helping our economy stay healthy.
And any funds left over after bills and salaries have been paid, infrastructure built and an emergency fund established, go into each member’s capital credit account. Then, at a time when our board of directors deems prudent, the capital credits can be paid out in the form of a check or a bill credit in an amount based on your electricity use. Capital credit refunds are to our members what dividends are to stockholders in for-profit companies. Only we don’t aim to make a profit. Our goal is to provide you with electricity at a price that is as close to cost as possible. That way, more of your money stays in your pocket.
There’s another way your money benefits local communities, through charitable programs and other service-oriented endeavors.
You are not paying your electric bill to a big, profit-making company. You are receiving a vital resource, electricity, and you are getting it from a business where your friends and neighbors are working to provide you with the highest level of service they can while keeping your costs as low as possible.
And that’s the cooperative difference.
Owned by Our Members
Committed to Our Communities