National Cooperative Month
National Co-op Month is a great time to recognize the benefits of cooperative membership
October is National Cooperative Month, which provides a great opportunity to reflect on Wells Rural Electric Co.’s history, appreciate where we are today and look forward to what is to come.
WREC began serving 583 members in 1960 as part of a movement to electrify rural areas in America deemed by larger utilities as not profitable enough to provide with electricity. Today, WREC serves roughly 4,000 members and more than 6,000 services with nearly 1,500 miles of energized line spanning a service territory of more than 10,000 square miles.Much has changed during those years, but one thing remains constant: an adherence and dedication to fulfilling the Seven Cooperative Principles that provide the foundation for WREC.
This month, more than any other, is a great opportunity to reflect on those principles and what they mean for our cooperative’s members
- 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, regional, national 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.