The Cooperative Difference
Electric Cooperatives are special because they are owned by the consumers they serve and because they are guided by a set of seven principles that reflect the best interests of those consumers. All cooperatives adhere to these seven guiding principles:
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.
Democratic Member Control
Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. The elected representatives are accountable to the membership. Members of the cooperative have equal voting rights - one member, one vote.
Members Economic Participation
Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative.
Autonomy and Independence
Cooperatives are autonomous organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their cooperative autonomy.
Education, Training, and Information
Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public, particularly young people and opinion leaders, about the nature and benefits of cooperation.
Cooperation Among Cooperatives
Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
Concern for Community
While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities. Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative works hard for its communities because they are a part of the communities they serve.