VEA Cautions Members About Scam: Local businesses and residential members are receiving phone calls after business hours and on weekends from individuals posing as VEA employees. The callers demand immediate payment and threaten to turn off the members’ power. They also ask members to purchase prepaid credit cards and wait for instructions. Read more...
The Cooperative Business Model
The Seven Cooperative Principles
Today, there are more than 900 electric cooperatives spanning 47 states and serving more than 42 million members. Cooperative members are not simply ratepayers; they are owners who have a say in how their utility is run.
The Seven Cooperative Principles play a valuable role in guiding the actions of VEA. By adhering to the following principles, VEA provides its members with a wide variety of unique benefits, including democratic control of the cooperative, community assistance programs, and opportunities for education and training.
Cooperatives around the world operate according to these core set of principles which, along with the cooperative purpose of improving quality of life for their members, make electric cooperatives different from other electric utilities.
- 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 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.
- 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.