Manager’s Message – October 2023

Dear Co-op Members:

In honor of October being National Cooperative Month, I wanted to take the time to share what makes a cooperative unique. There are 3 kinds of utilities in the United States: investor-owned, publicly owned and member-owned—known as cooperatives.

Investor-owned utilities maximize profits from customers to pay dividends to their stockholders. Public utilities are nonprofit, local government agencies aiming to provide service to communities in a way that recovers costs and earns additional returns to invest in new facilities. Member-owned cooperatives are private, nonprofit utility businesses owned by those they serve.

As a co-op, Lane Electric provides at-cost electric service and is governed by our elected board of directors. We also follow the 7 Cooperative Principles that are used by cooperatives around the world and were adopted by the International Cooperative Alliance in 1995.

  1. Open and Voluntary Membership: Membership is open to all people who can reasonably use its services and are willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, regardless of race, religion, gender or economic circumstances.
  2. Democratic Member Control: Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions.
  3. Member’s Economic Participation: Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative.
  4. Autonomy and Independence: Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members.
  5. Education, Training and Information: Education and training for members, elected representatives, CEOs and employees help them effectively contribute to the development of their cooperatives. Communications about the nature and benefits of cooperatives help boost cooperative understanding.
  6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives: By working together through local, national, regional and international structures, cooperatives improve services, bolster local economies, and support social and community needs.
  7. Concern for Community: Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies supported by the membership.

Today, rural electric cooperatives like Lane Electric serve 42 million people, including 92% of persistent poverty counties. We exist to provide safe, reliable and affordable electricity that meets the needs of our member-owners, and we’re proud to serve you.

Debi Wilson