The Cooperative Difference
Why Cooperatives are Special
Ouachita Electric Cooperative and the other Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas are special because we are owned by the consumers we serve and because we are guided by a set of seven principles that reflect the best interests of those consumers.
Approximately 440,000 homes, farms, businesses and industries are served by the 17 electric distribution cooperatives in Arkansas, which provide affordable, dependable electricity.
All cooperatives adhere to these seven guiding principles:
- Voluntary and Open Membership — 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.
- Democratic Member Control — 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.
- Members’ Economic Participation — 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 compensation through capital credits.
- Autonomy and Independence — 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.
- Education, Training, and Information — 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.
- Cooperation among Cooperatives — Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures.
- Concern for Community — While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members. The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas work hard for their communities because they are a part of the communities they serve.
Ouachita Electric Cooperative is a Proud Member of Touchstone Energy
Touchstone Energy is a national alliance of local, consumer-owned electric cooperatives providing high standards of service to customers large and small. More than more than 700 local, consumer-owned electric cooperatives in 46 states are delivering energy and energy solutions to more than 16 million customers every day. Touchstone Energy cooperatives serve their members with integrity, accountability, innovation and a longstanding commitment to communities.