You are a member, not a customer

Posted on Jul 25 2017 in Harrison REMC

David Lett

Many businesses use the word “member” to describe their customers. Places like Sam’s Club or Costco like to refer to their customers as members. You pay a fee to buy their goods and services, but that is really all you get for the “membership.” You don’t get a right to vote for the board of directors or receive capital credit refunds, nor are you able to participate in any meaningful way in the organization.

In cooperatives like Harrison REMC, membership really does mean something more than just the right to buy electricity. Electric co-ops are founded on seven cooperative principles that give us guidance and strategic direction. Membership also gives you rights as an owner of this co-op.

Members packed the gym at Corydon Central High School for our annual meeting earlier this year.

Cooperatives are one of several ways people can do business in the country. The difference between a cooperative and a sole-proprietorship, partnership or corporation is that cooperatives do not offer the financial incentive of a return on investment. In other words, cooperatives are not formed to make a profit; they are formed to serve a need. Since a cooperative operates to satisfy the needs of its members and not to generate a profit, cooperatives operate at the lowest cost possible while balancing member satisfaction and power reliability.

Harrison REMC is connected to you. There is a business relationship that serves you (the member) and the co-op. Because co-ops are solely owned by people in the community, they have a mutual interest to ensure that both the co-op and the member do well and prosper.

The cooperative business model is one of the best. But like any enterprise, it is up to the employees, directors and members like you to ensure that the principles and values do not fade over time.
Harrison REMC strives to be a member-owned cooperative that gives you the best value of any utility. Whether this is your first experience as a cooperative member or you are a longtime member, we are here to serve your energy needs. If we succeed, our community thrives and you will always value being a member, not a customer.