A co-op is founded when people with
a similar need form an organization to provide goods or services.
For example, a credit union is a co-op.
You are a customer
and a member of this nonprofit organization. This gives you
certain rights that are quite different than if you were a
customer of a for-profit utility that is owned by shareholders.
In addition to having a say in how the company is operated,
you will gain a share of the ownership as you use our services.
A cooperative's net margin above expenses and reserves does
not belong to the utility; it belongs to the individual consumer-owners
of Hancock-Wood. The margins must either be used to improve or maintain
operations or be distributed to Hancock-Wood's consumer-owners. Indeed,
this is one of the major aspects of a cooperative that make
it truly unique.
- private, independent electric utility businesses
- owned by the consumers they serve
- incorporated under the laws of the states in which they
- established to provide at-cost electric service
- governed by a board of directors elected from the membership,
which sets policies and procedures that are implemented
by the cooperatives' professional staff
In fact, according
to the National
Cooperative Business Association (NCBA), over 120 million
people -- two of every five people -- are members of 48,000
U.S. cooperatives, and worldwide, some 750,000 cooperatives
serve 730 million members.
You might be familiar
with some well known national cooperatives, such as Welch's,
Insurance and the Associated
In our electric
cooperative industry, nearly 1,000 rural electric co-ops own
and maintain nearly half of the electric distribution lines
in the U. S., cover 75 percent of the land mass and provide
electricity to 36 million people. Here in Ohio, there are
25 different electric co-ops serving more than 320,000 homes
and businesses in 77 of Ohio's 88 counties. Their combined
service areas cover about 40 percent of the state's land areas,
including most rural areas.