Electric cooperatives are not-for-profit utilities owned and regulated by the consumers we serve. We improve lives in our rural and suburban service areas through affordable and reliable energy, economic development and education of tomorrow’s leaders.
Co-ops are member owned and regulated
Electric co-ops are owned by the members we serve. Members elect board members to represent their interests and set policy and procedures for the co-op.
Co-ops were formed by members more than 75 years ago to bring low-cost, reliable energy to our members. Today co-ops are modern, technologically advanced businesses serving rural and suburban areas, but our mission and purpose has not changed.
Co-ops are not-for-profit
Co-ops exist to serve our communities instead of shareholders. Co-ops distribute and sell affordable energy and invest any excess revenue back into the electric system.
Co-ops encourage our members to use energy wisely, keeping monthly bills low.
Co-ops improve lives in the communities we serve
Keeping the lights on. Recruiting new industry. Educating the leaders of tomorrow. Electric co-ops take seriously our responsibility to improve lives in our communities.
Co-ops impact our state
The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association was officially chartered in December 1942. TECA exists to serve its member electric cooperative systems and their member-owners.
The association represents 23 individual power distributors, including all 22 of Tennessee’s electric cooperatives and one municipal system. Together, these systems provide electric service to 800,000 homes, farms, industries and institutions that represent more than 2 million people.
The statewide association is similar to its member cooperatives in that it is nonprofit, member-owned and controlled by a board of trustees elected by the members.
The Co-op Principles
All cooperatives operate under a set of guiding principles. Adherence to the seven cooperative principles is what makes cooperatives different.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.