DMEA is a non-for-profit, member-owned rural electric cooperative. As such, we are owned and controlled by those we serve – our members.
There are many benefits to being a member of a cooperative including:
- You have a voice: DMEA is governed by a nine-member democratically elected board or directors. These directors are elected from the membership by the membership. They are tasked with representing the needs and interests of the entire membership and must set policies to reflect that. Through your board representatives you can share your suggestions and concerns.
- You are an owner: Since DMEA is a non-for-profit business, excess margins belong to the members, not the cooperative. Each year, excess margins are allocated back to the membership based on how much money a member paid the cooperative throughout the year for electric service. This is called a member’s patronage capital. Some of this capital is reinvested in the cooperative to maintain system strength and reliability. The remaining dollars are allocated back to the membership in the form of capital credits. These credits are eventually paid back to the members on a delayed rotation. An individual member’s capital credits represent his or her ownership of the cooperative. Learn more about capital credits.
- You come first: Since we exist solely to provide service to our members, our members are always our first priority.
Celebrate the Cooperative Difference
Cooperative businesses are special because they are owned by the consumers they serve.
All cooperative businesses 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. In primary cooperatives, members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and cooperatives at other levels are organized in a democratic manner.
- 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 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 cooperative and communities. 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.