Cooperative Principle #1: Voluntary & Open Membership

Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives operate alongside Electric Cooperatives around the world according to a core set of Principles. These Principles, along with the cooperative purpose of improving quality of life for their Member-Owners, make Electric Cooperatives different from other electric utilities.

The first Principle of Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives is Voluntary and Open Membership. According to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Voluntary and Open Membership means that:

“Cooperatives are voluntary organizations open to all persons able to sure their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination (source).”

Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives Do Not Discriminate


Barry Hart, the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives explains that any Missourian who would like to receive the service offered by a Cooperative has the right to do so.

“If you’re willing to join as a member, you cannot be discriminated against. You have the right to be a member of the Cooperative,” he says.

So what does it take to become a Member-Owner of a local Cooperative? In most cases, you simply need to contact your local Missouri Electrical Cooperative.

How to Join Your Missouri Electric Cooperative

If you’d like to become #aMemberOwner of one of Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives, contact the Missouri Electric Cooperative in your community. You can find a list of Missouri’s more than 30 Electric Cooperatives, including links to their websites, here.

Did You Know? 

Your Missouri Electric Cooperative is a 501(c)(12) nonprofit organization, which means that 85% or more of its annual income must be used for the sole purpose of meeting losses and expenses. You can read more about your Cooperative’s nonprofit status on the National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association website.

Learn more about Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives, and how we work to provide safe, efficient energy to rural Missouri by connecting with us on Facebook ,
Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.


Fill out this form and receive an #aMemberOwner sticker to show your pride of ownership and being a part of rural Missouri!

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