Who We Are
It’s hard to imagine what life today would be like without electricity. If electric co-ops had not electrified towns across rural America years ago, many of our local economies simply wouldn’t exist. Electric cooperatives create jobs, fuel growth and power communities all across America.
Butler Rural Electric Cooperative was built by the communities we serve. The co-op was shaped over time to meet the specific needs of our consumer-members, and today, we continue to provide the affordable, reliable, safe energy our local communities depend on.
Electric cooperatives are community-focused organizations that belong to the communities they serve. Democratically governed businesses, electric cooperatives are organized under the Cooperative or Rochdale Principles, anchoring them firmly in the communities they serve and ensuring that they are closely regulated by their consumers. Across the country, local cooperatives work together to develop new technologies and infrastructure, learn from each other and keep the grid secure.
Being a member of a cooperative distinguishes you from other electric utility consumers in a number of ways:
- Co-op leaders are members of our local community. Our nine board members live right here in our local area and are elected by co-op members, just like you! Board members serve three-year terms and elections are held at our Annual Meeting each spring.
- We belong to the communities we serve. Since we are a cooperative, any excess revenue is shared with the people we serve. Our co-op has returned more than $51 million to our members over the years.
To be a dynamic, progressive organization guided by cooperative principles and to provide energy and other value-added services to its members. The Cooperative will participate in its communities, providing leadership and support to improve the quality of life for all of its citizens.
The Seven Cooperative Principles
Cooperatives around the world operate according to a core set of principles. These principles, along with the cooperative purpose of improving quality of life for members, make electric cooperatives different from other electric utilities. To learn more about the cooperative principles, watch the video below.
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. In primary cooperatives, members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and cooperatives at other levels are organized in a democratic manner.
Members’ Economic Participation
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 at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
Autonomy and Independence
Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help 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 through policies accepted by their members.
NRECA: The Electric Cooperative Story
This video, created by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, features a fast-action, hand-drawn guide to the history, structure and purpose of rural electric cooperatives.