By: Gary Raybon
WHARTON COUNTY ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE WAS FOUNDED MORE THAN 75 years ago on these principles that still guide us today:
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.
3. Members’ Economic Participation: Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative.
4. Autonomy and Independence: Cooperatives are autonomous self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, 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 members, representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperative. They inform the public, young people and opinion leaders about the benefits of cooperation.
6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives: Cooperatives serve members and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
7. Concern for Community: Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies and activities accepted by their members.
Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives is a national network of electric cooperatives across 46 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.