Independence and Interdependence
Electric cooperatives like HomeWorks Tri-County form a network across America. There are nearly 900 of us, located in 47 states. Cooperative-owned electric lines cover 75 percent of the nation’s land mass. But each co-op is, like HomeWorks, a unique, independent business.
We work with many other organizations, including other co-ops, but our member-owners control the co-op by electing a board of directors from among their neighbors. Our board then approves policies that guide the way management and employees do business.
The fourth cooperative principle is autonomy and independence. Autonomy is another way to say self-sufficient. To be honest, like most Americans, we aren’t completely self-sufficient. We don’t grow our own trees and process them into power poles; we don’t take metal and string it into wires to conduct electricity. We don’t build our own trucks and trailers, nor our computers and other tools.
Instead, we are interdependent: part of many other organizations that work together with the end goal of serving our members. We partner with Wolverine Power Cooperative to purchase and transmit the electricity that serves your family. We are member-owners of the Portland Federal Credit Union, where we do most of our local banking.
We are member-owners of, and partners with, many other cooperatives, that help us obtain products and services, such as financing, computer services, insurance, materials, legislative and regulatory support, and more.
Of course, we work with many non-cooperative organizations and governmental agencies as well. Any time HomeWorks enters into agreements with other organizations, we do it with terms that ensure democratic control by you, our members, and maintain our independence. This will allow us to continue to be the self-help organization envisioned by the founders of the modern cooperative movement.
As always, we welcome your participation and suggestions about how we can improve our locally owned and controlled services.