As a member of an electric cooperative, you have a voice in the
way your business is operated. Each year Albemarle EMC holds its
annual meeting. At those meetings, the business of the electric
cooperative is conducted. One important aspect of your annual
business meeting is the election of board members. Albemarle EMC
board members serve three-year terms. Cooperative bylaws ensure
that each of the cooperative’s districts is represented on the
board of directors. The board meets at least one time per month
to review policy, evaluate the financial condition of the
business, and take action on necessary items.
With our cooperative, each member has one vote. This gives a
retired individual on a fixed income the same voting power as a
thriving business owner. This manner of governance is a result
of the following cooperative principles that Albemarle EMC
- 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. In primary cooperatives, members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and cooperatives at other levels are organized in a democratic manner.
- Member’s 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 limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing the cooperative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
- 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.
As you can see, these guiding principles provide an outline for
conducting business that will be good for our members and the
communities where they live. Now that you know how the business
is structured, it is important that you do your part and make
plans to attend your annual meeting. Please look to your Carolina Country magazine, which
will announce the time and place of the next meeting.