Electric cooperatives democratized the American Dream when they turned on the lights for rural farms and ranches previously living in the dark. Today we are fueling our communities — not just with electricity, but also with our mission to empower our members.
According to the NRECA (National Rural Electric Cooperative Association), “the Purpose of the electric cooperatives is to power communities and empower members to improve the quality of their lives.”
In 1844, a group of weavers in England who were fed up with the high price of company store groceries pooled their money to buy their own food. In doing so, they created a new form of business, the cooperative. In 1935, President Roosevelt gave American electric cooperatives a jump start with the founding of the Rural Electrification Administration, providing funding to rural utilities at a low interest rate.
With the help of the local Farm Bureau, Tipmont REMC was incorporated on May 10, 1939. The first pole went up around October 1 later that year, transforming life in rural Indiana and across America. Today, there are more than 900 electric co-ops in the US bringing electricity to some 42 million Americans.
How do cooperatives work?
Money comes in when members pay their electric bills. Money goes out to pay co-op expenses. A little bit is set aside for emergencies and the future. Any leftover is returned to members - the shareholders - of Tipmont. Cooperatives are not-for-profit and focus on long-term stability and the value they deliver to their members.
However, the cooperative model also poses a challenge. In private business, success is measured by sales and profit. How does Tipmont measure success if sales and profit are aren’t the primary goal?
At Tipmont, we measure our success by measuring our members’ overall satisfaction with the products and services we offer. By measuring satisfaction, we capture their feedback to us regarding topics like the reliability of our service, the knowledge of our staff, our service options, and the overall value they receive.
Member satisfaction is our profit. It’s the driving force behind everything we do at Tipmont. With that in mind, these are the promises we make to our members:
- We will listen closely to align the business with the needs of our members
- We will strive to exceed our members’ expectations each time we meet.
- We will provide our members with timely and complete resolutions.
- We will actively communicate with our members to keep them updated and informed.
- We will continue to measure member satisfaction in order to learn and grow from each experience.