The Cooperative Difference

The Difference

As a not-for-profit, member-owned corporation, OEC is dedicated to providing members the best service at the most reasonable price. We strive to be a good corporate citizen and neighbor, as well as a recognized leader in the utility industry. 


7 Cooperative Principles
We operate by a core of principles
that make us different from other utilities.

Our Cooperative Principles

  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 our members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. The elected representatives are accountable to the membership. Members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote).

  3. Members’ Economic Participation: Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. As a member, you receive any excess profits the cooperative makes in the form of capital credits. In short, if we make money, you make money (on a 15 year cycle), no matter if you're still our member or not.  

  4. Autonomy and Independence: Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If we enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, we do so on terms that ensure democratic control by our members and maintain their cooperative autonomy.

  5. Education, Training, and Information: Cooperatives provide education and training for our members, elected representatives, managers and employees so you can contribute effectively to the development of your cooperative. We inform the general public, particularly young people and opinion leaders, about the nature and benefits of cooperation.

  6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives: Cooperatives serve our members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

  7. Concern for Community: While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of our communities through policies accepted by their members.

OEC History
Learn more about our rich
history of over 80 years.