The 7 Cooperative Principles

It’s National Co-op Month and Middle Tennessee Electric is proud be part of a nationwide celebration of more than 40,000 cooperative businesses in various industries serving 120 million people. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) represents 900 of those cooperatives which provide power to over 42 million Americans and employ more than 72,000 people. We’re proud to be part of this great community.

Since we are a cooperative, we strive to provide affordable, reliable, safe electricity and outstanding member service to our membership every day. The foundation of a cooperative is built around seven key principles, and our goal is to operate in a way that exemplifies each of these principles.

Voluntary and Open Membership

We are a voluntary organization open to all people to use our services and willing to accept the responsibility of membership. This extends to all members no matter their gender, social status, race, political affiliation, or religion.

Democratic Member Control

Cooperatives are democratic organizations that are controlled by the members. Active members participate in making decisions and setting policies. They also hold elected representatives accountable to the membership. Each member has an equal voting right, which means that each member gets one vote. This is exemplified by our Annual Meeting that we hold each year.

Member’s Economic Participation

Members contribute equally to, and democratically control, the capital of the cooperative. At least part of the capital is usually common property of the cooperative.

Autonomy and Independence

As a cooperative, we operate independently from other organizations and are designed to help our members. If we enter into agreements with other organizations or raise capital from external sources, we do so on terms that make sure that democratic control stays with the members and that the cooperative maintains its independence.

Education, Training, and Information

We provide education and training for our members and communities so they can contribute to the development of the cooperative. Informing the general public, particularly the youth and thought leaders, about the nature and benefits of the cooperative allows us to improve our effectiveness. One of the ways that we do so, is through our Community Education Programs.

Cooperation Among Cooperatives

When cooperatives work together, the members benefit by the exchange of information and processes. Cooperatives are built to help their members first, but when the need and opportunity arises to help a fellow cooperative, we take the steps to do so, like when we sent 3 crews to Florida to help with power restoration in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.

Concern for Community

While our focus is on members’ needs first, we also work to build sustainable relationships in our communities that will aide their development through employee involvement in local organizations, charitable organizations, and support of local initiatives. Our charitable foundation, SharingChange, has donated more than 9 million dollars to local non-profits in the Cannon, Rutherford, Williamson, and Wilson counties since 2003.

Using these principles, MTEMC has served its members for 80 years. Created by farmers and homeowners who needed access to electricity, we have grown to power the homes and businesses of 215,000 members in both urban and rural settings across four counties in middle Tennessee.