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The Cooperative Difference

What is an electric co-op?

Founded in 1939, Holy Cross Energy (HCE) is a private not-for-profit rural electric co-op providing energy and services to our consumer-members. As a local cooperative, we reinvest revenue into our communities through stable rates and infrastructure or returning it to you our member-owners through patronage capital.
We are committed to our community

Electric co-ops are community-focused organizations that deliver safe, reliable and affordable energy to their consumer-members. Our electric co-op is unique because we belong to the communities we serve.

We invest in you

Because we answer to local members (that’s you!) rather than far-away shareholders, we’re more nimble and able to respond quickly to the changing needs of our community. We even share any excess revenue with our members because we’re not-for-profit.

Every member has a voice

The co-op is led by its members, which gives us a unique understanding of the needs of our local communities. In fact, many of our leaders and employees live right here in the community and are members of the co-op––just like you! Because HCE is member-owned and operated, you have the right to vote for your Board of Directors.

We collaborate amongst cooperatives

Even though we’re locally owned and operated, we cooperate with other electric cooperatives across the country to develop new technologies, invest in equipment and infrastructure that benefits multiple co-ops in a region, and assist with major outages. This type of collaboration allows us to address complex challenges while remaining true to our local roots.

Our electric co-op

was built by
the community

belongs to
the community

and continues to be led by
the community

That’s the cooperative difference.

7 Principles of a Cooperative

Cooperatives around the world operate according to the same set of core principles and values, adopted by the International Co-operative Alliance. These principles are a key reason that America’s electric cooperatives operate differently from other electric utilities, putting the needs of their members first.


Open and Voluntary Membership

Membership in a cooperative is open to all people who can reasonably use its services and stand willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, regardless of race, religion, gender, or economic circumstances.


Democratic member control

Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. Representatives (directors/trustees) are elected among the membership and are accountable to them. In primary cooperatives, members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote); 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 remains the common property of the cooperative. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing the cooperative; setting up reserves; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.


Autonomy & 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 as well as their unique identity.


Education, training, and information

Education and training for members, elected representatives (directors/trustees), CEOs, and employees help them effectively contribute to the development of their cooperatives. Communications about the nature and benefits of cooperatives, particularly with the general public and opinion leaders, help boost cooperative understanding.


Cooperation among cooperatives

By working together through local, national, regional and international structures, cooperatives improve services, bolster local economies, and deal more effectively with social and community needs.


Concern for community

Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies supported by the membership.