Valley Electric and the Seven Cooperative Principles
Cooperatives are born out of necessity, to meet needs that are not otherwise met. For Valley Electric, the cooperative was created to serve its members with power, because other utilities did not find it profitable to do so. In 1965, four cooperatives; Amargosa Valley Electric Cooperative, Beatty Utility Company, Pahrump Utility Company, and White Mountain Electric Cooperative all decided to join forces knowing that they would be stronger together and Valley Electric Association was formed.
All cooperatives adhere to the same set of seven principles, no matter what type of cooperative they are. These standards guide them to operate for the greater good. These seven principles are voluntary and open membership, democratic member control, members’ economic participation, autonomy and independence, education and training, cooperation among cooperatives, and concern for community.
Every Co-op has voluntary and open membership, which means that everyone who is part of the co-op is voluntarily a member of it. It also welcomes anyone and everyone who is willing to accept the responsibility of being a member and use the services it provides.
At Valley Electric, the mission of improving the lives of the people and communities it serves is at the heart of everything the Co-op does. This includes cultivating our communities to increase economic opportunities and strengthening our neighborhoods. Having voluntary and open membership allows anyone who would like to get services the ability to do so, promoting growth in the communities.
Each member has a voice in the cooperative – one membership, one vote. The Co-op is better suited to serve the members because it is governed by those it serves. They can be as active as they want in Cooperative activities. At Valley, it is strongly encouraged that members vote on critical cooperative measures and the board of director positions. All forms of member engagement are nurtured because it helps ensure the voice of the membership is heard.
Valley Electric is proud to have three board committees that give another avenue for its members to have a say. These committees assist the cooperative in the decision-making process, working with board members and Valley staff to ensure members’ voices are heard. Board members and Valley staff work diligently to build and strengthen the relationship between the members and the Cooperative. This close connection to the members and the community helps ensure that the Co-op gets a first-hand perspective on the member’s priorities and the community’s needs.
Being a part of an electrical cooperative means that the member must participate by using and paying for the electricity that is provided. Simply, if you have a Valley Electric bill, then you are a member. As a utility, Valley’s mission is to provide safe, reliable, and affordable energy to the members who pay their bills, contributing directly to the cooperative. But as a cooperative, Valley is motivated by improving the lives of the members it serves, rather than by profits, like other utilities. It is more than money; it is the opportunity to serve. Any profits that are made, are redistributed to the members in the form of capital credits. Capital credits are released when the Board determines the Co-op is financially able to do so, and then members either get a check or a credit on their bill.
Valley Electric operates in an autonomous way that is guided by the members it serves. This ensures that the values and needs of the local community and the members in it are the priority. Valley does not answer to shareholders or leaders that are not part of the community. It operates independently for the benefit of our membership.
Valley is dedicated to keeping the members, board of directors, and employees educated and informed of cooperative initiatives, energy efficiencies, and other important information. The Cooperative works hard to keep the members informed, which is one of the reasons the Ruralite is so important. Valley shares the latest news, updates, safety, and energy tips, new products, and new service offerings in this monthly publication.
The Co-op invests in continuous learning for staff and board members. This commitment is not just to individual professional and personal growth, but to the future of Valley Electric. At Valley, the belief is that education and personal growth are key factors in delivering high-quality service to our members and secures the future of the Co-op with motivated, qualified staff.
Cooperation among cooperatives is an essential principle. This means that cooperatives work together to support each other. Valley is part of a national network of cooperatives. This network is a way that co-ops can support each other in various ways. When national disasters, like hurricanes, have affected cooperative regions, Valley has sent our linemen to help work with other cooperatives to restore power.
Valley is also a member of several other different cooperatives that provides services to Valley Electric. Using these cooperative resources, Valley is able to collaborate and tackle industry-related challenges, like cybersecurity and an everchanging energy market.
At Valley, the Co-op views its role as a catalyst for good and for making its communities a better place. Concern for the community is an important driving factor for Valley Electric. The Cooperative’s mission is to improve the lives of the people and communities we serve. This principle is what drives Valley to continue to be a positive force in the community. Not only does Valley serve the membership an essential service, but by also helps our local economy.
Valley focuses on ways the Co-op can improve the communities it serves. By hosting annual donation drives such as Fill the Bucket and Give Thanks, Valley is able to support the community. Also, supporting local non-profits through the creation of the Valley Electric Charitable Foundation. The Valley Electric Charitable Foundation is responsible for starting the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Valley’s service territory, as well as, supporting many other non-profit organizations with donations and grants.
Like most cooperatives, Valley Electric is proud to be a cooperative that serves its members and helps its communities thrive.