Co-op Difference

Electric cooperatives, like all cooperative forms of business, are locally owned and operated. Clark Energy Cooperative is a local business, owned by the people we serve. That means conducting business through a locally elected board of directors and an annual meeting where policy is proposed and voted on by its member-owners. It’s the “people” part—the personal involvement, the grassroots activities—that characterizes what we and other electric cooperatives are all about.

It is because Clark Energy is a local, not-for-profit business, owned by its member-owners, and staffed by local professionals that we are in a good position to listen and respond to your needs and concerns. Helping our member-owners save energy, working to improve the local economy, and promoting education and safety among our student population are just a few of the things other than providing electricity that proves we are more than just an electric utility. We are concerned about the quality of life in the communities we serve and want to help friends, neighbors, and business colleagues—the people you see on a day-to-day basis—reach toward new horizons to make life better for everyone.

As a cooperative, Clark Energy operates by the seven cooperative 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 their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the general membership. In primary cooperatives, members have equal voting rights—one member, one vote.
Members’ Economic Participation
Members contribute 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 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.