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The Cooperative 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.

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.

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.

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.

7. Concern for Community

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

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).

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.

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.