Our Guiding Principles

Cooperatives operate according to a core set of principles for the purpose of improving quality of life for their members.

Our mission is not to provide profits to shareholders. Instead, we are committed to bringing you the most reliable and affordable service possible. October is National Cooperative Month, honoring the important role cooperatives play in the fabric of our country.

The following 7 Cooperative Principles provide clear guidance on how we accomplish our mission.

Voluntary and Open Membership

A cooperative is a voluntary organization, open to all people who can reasonably use its services.

Democratic Member Control

A cooperative is a democratic organization guided by leaders who the members elect to represent them when setting policies and making decisions.

Members’ Economic Participation

Members contribute to the capital of their cooperative. This capital is used to operate the cooperative, and it benefits the member in proportion to the amount of business they do with the cooperative.

Autonomy and Independence

No matter what agreements cooperatives may enter into with other organizations, its members maintain control and the cooperative remains independent.

Education, Training and Information

Cooperatives provide education and training for members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the well-being of their cooperative. They also inform the public 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, regional, national and international organizations.

Concern for Community

Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of communities through policies and programs supported by the membership.