The 7 Co-op 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. 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 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.
Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives is a national network of electric cooperatives across 47 states that provides resources and leverages partnerships to help member cooperatives and their employees better engage and serve their members. By working together, Touchstone Energy cooperatives stand as a source of power and information to their 32 million member-owners every day.
Electric cooperatives were originally established to provide electricity to rural America. Now co-op territories have expanded into suburban and some urban areas of the country, which makes electric co-ops the largest electric utility network in the nation. Despite this growth, your local Touchstone Energy cooperative is owned and operated by the members it serves, giving everyone in your community a democratic voice in how the co-op is run.
Community-friendly values mixed with the cooperative business model are what make electric co-ops strong. As a not-for-profit entity, members know they can trust their electric co-op, because it was created to deliver on the promise of providing safe, reliable and affordable electricity to member-owners – not to generate money for shareholders.
Touchstone Energy is the national brand identity for the extensive electric cooperative network. All members exemplify high standards of service because they uphold the four core values of integrity, accountability, innovation and commitment to community. Touchstone Energy co-ops simply put members first and always have a local, member-driven, community focused vision.
Across the country, local Touchstone Energy co-ops work to improve members’ quality of life by taking a leadership role in community and economic development projects, forging strong partnerships with business members, as well as generously donating time, energy and resources to their local communities. The Touchstone Energy logo means the cooperative understands the power of human connections and is the power of a national network, working in your neighborhood.
Touchstone Energy Cooperatives are:
Part of the largest electric utility network in the nation
Total more than 700 local systems in 47 states
Serve more than 30.5 million distribution cooperative member-owners
Serve nearly 40 generation and transmission cooperatives
As dictated by cooperative principles and provision of PenTex’s bylaws, margins representing the difference between revenue and expenses are annually allocated to individual members’ capital credit accounts on the basis of each member’s patronage during that year.
Annually, the board of directors reviews the financial status of the cooperative to determine whether or not it is prudent to refund accrued patronage capital to members. A blended method of retirement of capital credits is used at PenTex. We are currently on a 30 year rotation.