Principle #3: Members’ Economic Participation

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 members, make Electric Cooperatives different from other electric utilities.


The third Principle of Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives is Members’ Economic Participation. According to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Members’ Economic Participation means that:

“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 as least would be indivisible; benefitting members in proportion to their transactions with the Cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.”

That’s a long way of explaining that Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives are run in a democratic way, so that any surplus income earned by the Cooperative is invested back into the Member-Owner community in an equal and fair way.

Barry Hart, the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives says that, “when you pay your monthly electric bill, you’re actually economically participating in the services the Cooperative is giving you.”

“And then,” he continues, “at the end of the year, because the Cooperative is a non-for-profit organization, any margins, anything above break-even, that economic value is credited back to you, the Member.”

If you’d like to become involved in a democratically managed, nonprofit electric utility in your community, we recommend joining your local Missouri Electric 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 following us on Facebook ,
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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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