Corn Belt Energy is an electric cooperative, but what exactly does that mean? A cooperative business belongs to the people who use it – people who have organized to provide themselves with the goods and services they need. These member-owners share equally in the control of their cooperative; they meet at regular intervals, hear detailed reports and elect directors from amongst themselves. The directors then hire management to run the day-to-day affairs of the cooperative in a way that serves the members’ interests.
Co-ops are not-for-profit entities. Members invest in shares of the business to provide capital for a strong and efficient operation. All net savings (profits) left after bills are paid and money is set aside for operations and improvements are returned to the cooperative members, usually in the form of capital credits.
Cooperatives like Corn Belt Energy are democratically controlled, not-for-profit entities that epitomize customer choice and aggregation. Our ONLY interest is looking out for the well-being of our member-owners (those who get electricity from us). We have a long-term goal of providing reliable service at an affordable price.
Corn Belt Energy and cooperatives worldwide generally operate using these seven principles adopted in 1995 by the International Cooperative Alliance:
1. Membership: Open to all without gender, social, racial, political, or religious discrimination.
2. Democratic Member Control: One member, one vote.
3. Member Economic Participation: Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of the cooperative. The economic benefits of a cooperative operation are returned to the members, reinvested in the co-op, or used to provide member services.
4. Autonomy and Independence: Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members.
5. Education, Training and Information: Cooperatives provide education and training for members so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public about the nature and benefits of cooperation.
6. Cooperation among Cooperatives: Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, regional, national and international structures.
7. Concern for the Community: While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.