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If you’re a member of Trinity Valley Electric Cooperative you can find a co-op owner by looking in the mirror.
At TVEC—like all cooperatives everywhere—you, the members, are the owners. That’s the philosophy of Cooperative Principle No. 3: Members’ Economic Participation.
Being an owner, however, doesn’t mean that you can drive to your neighborhood substation and take home a transformer or chop down a pole carrying wires to your house. These assets are owned collectively by all of us. A portion of the bill you pay each month goes into building and maintaining the infrastructure—poles, wires, substations and more—that bring you a steady supply of electricity.
Your cooperative does business locally. The investments we make in infrastructure benefit people who live and work right here in our communities—not those in faraway places.
Your payments do more than build power lines, buy equipment and pay for wholesale electricity. They also pay the salaries of our hardworking employees, who also happen to be your neighbors, friends and family. They, in turn, spend their salaries at local businesses, spreading that money around and helping our economy stay healthy.
At the end of each year, any revenue that exceeds the co-op’s expenses is allocated to your capital credit account based on the amount of electricity you purchased. These funds are then used to support operating activities in the upcoming year, including the building and maintenance of the cooperatives infrastructure. Your capital credit account reflects your ownership in the company, and you can take pride in every pole, truck and mile of line we operate.
When the Cooperative’s financial condition allows, the board of directors authorizes payment of those capital credits back to you, the member. In the last 10 years, TVEC has paid more than $32 million in capital credits back to its members.
Capital credits are to our members what dividends are to stockholders in for-profit companies. But instead of making profits, our goal is to provide you with electricity at a price that is as close to cost as possible. That way, more of your money stays in your pocket.
When you pay your TVEC electric bill, you are not filling the coffers of a big, profit-making company. You are simply paying for electricity, and you are getting it from a business where your friends and neighbors work to provide you with the highest level of service they can while keeping your costs as low as possible.
That’s the cooperative difference.