Electric cooperatives were founded back in the 1930s to help bring electricity to the areas where the big power companies didn't want to run their lines. So members of cooperatives are, in fact, owners, and they should be treated like it. Too many co-ops make management decisions in closed meetings, don't allow for open election of board members, and try to make decisions behind closed doors that put coop members at financial risk, such as making investments in unnecessary or risky power plants. Member-owners have brought lawsuits in many places to open up their cooperatives and have them run in transparent ways to serve the best interests of member-owners. In some places, co-ops have proposed or adopted a Members' Bill of Rights. Only by making these decisions in the open can member-owners be assured that their interests are being served.
Summit Blue Report. The purpose of the report is to describe how integrated resource planning at the level of a generation and transmission cooperative (G&T) can hedge the risks inherent in providing adequate electric resources to the G&T’s customers.By understanding the fundamental assumptions that drive the need for new resources, we believe cooperative board members can better represent their members’ interests.
As not only a customer, but an owner of a co-op, you ought to have certain rights-- rights that shareholders in corporations routinely have, but are often denied to co-op members. These rights include voter protections, open records and open meetings requirements. This bill of rights was successfully passed in the Pedernales Co-op in Texas, the largest electrical co-op by membership in the US. You can get them passed, too!
Advocates for efficiency and renewable energy proposed a number of programs to serve member-owners in the Pedernales Electric Cooperative.