Cotton Electric: 7 Cooperative Principles Essay Example



We have all heard about the Seven Wonders of the World and maybe the western movie Magnificent Seven, but did you know Cotton Electric has its own seven. According to the Oklahoma’s Electric Cooperative in 1994, a set of cooperative principles were agreed upon by the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) at a conference in Oslo, Norway. Since then, they have largely been regarded as the standards for cooperatives. The seven principles are voluntary & open membership, democratic member control, member economic participation, autonomy & independence, education, training & information, cooperation between cooperatives and final attention to the community.

Due to Covid-19, my extended family had Christmas on January 2nd of this year. There were fourteen of us, the oldest being my great-grandpa Hunter Nunley Jr. who will turn ninety-five this month. This man’s family has been a member of the Cotton Electric almost since the day of inception. He is probably one of the oldest living members of Cotton Electric today. In 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt along with Congress established the Rural Electrification Administration. With the REA in place, electricity was coming to the rural areas to help make life easier, encouraging more people to stay on the family farm. This is where my great-grandpa has spent all his life. My grandfather is here also on the family farm as well as my mother. My great-great grandfather, a man I never met was one the first to receive Cotton Electric on the Stephens-Comanche County line. So, I am proud to say from generation after generation we have been a member of Cotton Electric.

What is my function as a member? Members in the co-op actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. The members then elect nine members to serve on Cotton Electric Cooperative’s Board of Trustees. These trustees evaluate and create policies to ensure the co-op provides safe, affordable and reliable service. With these nine trustees and close to 16,000 members we are able to govern our own co-op.

Education, training and information are important knowledge that is provided by Cotton Electric. The source my family has found most valuable is the Cotton Electric newspaper The Current. When you read The Current you will find information on how the report outages, you will see the training the employees are receiving, safety articles for you and your family. The Current has lots of interesting stories about home improvements, energy efficient ideas for summer and winter. The paper also has a section on cooking with recipes, classified ad section, school and communities events. If it is going on in Southwest Oklahoma The Current knows and reports it. 

With the cooperation of cooperatives we are able to go outside our district and help cooperatives in need of assistance. Last August we sent crews to Louisiana to help out with Hurricane Laura. Neighbors helping neighbors that’s what it’s all about.

Our co-op does several things that benefit our eight counties. Operation Round –Up provides grant money for fire departments, food banks, schools, libraries or to whoever applies through a grant application. There is also the Co-Op Connection Card which provides discounts to the members. With the gross tax receipts Cotton Electric pays over two million dollars to the thirty-one school districts in our area. These are great services to our communities.

Using the 7 principles as guidelines we are able to have a very successful co-op whose main concern is their members and communities. Being a part of Cotton Electric is where I want to be. Thank you for allowing me and family.