seven-cooperative-principlesMore than 29,000 co-ops operate in the U.S., with about 350 million members. More than 900 electric co-ops maintain nearly half of the electric distribution lines in the U.S. These lines cover three-quarters of the U.S. land mass and provide electricity to more than 40 million Americans.    Like all co-ops, Peninsula Light Company operates under these seven cooperative principles:

  1. Voluntary and open membership. Co-ops are open to all who are able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership.
  2. Democratic member control. Co-ops are controlled by their members, who set the policies and make decisions. Elected representatives are accountable to the members, who have equal voting rights: one member, one vote.
  3. Member economic participation. Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. They allocate surpluses to develop the co-op, and benefit in proportion to their transactions with the co-op.
  4. Autonomy and independence. Cooperatives are self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members.
  5. Education, training and information. Co-ops provide education and training for members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute to the development of their co-ops. They inform the public, particularly young people and opinion leaders, about the nature and benefits of cooperation.
  6. Cooperation among cooperatives. Cooperatives serve their members by working together locally, nationally, regionally and internationally.
  7. Concern for community. While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities.