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Skin in the game

Article was added on Friday, March 06, 2015

Your economic participation is essential to our co-op's daily operations

The Internati onal Cooperative Alliance summary of the third cooperative principle, Members' Economic Participation states: Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing their cooperative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.

So what do those words mean? Let's take a closer look. When you joined Santee Electric Cooperative you paid a membership fee of $5. That is your part of the equity or your share of ownership (Members contribute equitably to the capital of their cooperative). You also do something else every month that allows your co-op to keep the lights on-you pay your bill! 

As a member, you have a say (democratically control) through your elected board of directors. The board sets the strategic direction of the cooperative, then the management and staff put that direction into action through the operations of the co-op. 

At the end of the fiscal year, if your co-op has received more money than it needed for the expenses, a portion is set aside for reserves (members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: … by setting up reserves) which is like a savings account for the co-op. So if a storm or flood comes through, the co-op will have the funds to do the needed repairs. The remaining amount is allocated to each member based on how much electricity they used during the year (benefiting members in proportion to their transactions). This is the amount you will see as a capital credits check or a credit on your bill.

While the safe, reliable and affordable provision of electricity is most important, your co-op does many other things too. The Help My House program loans money to members to make energy-efficient home improvements. Operation Round Up distributes funds to members who lose their homes to fire. The Women In Rural Electrification (WIRE) group takes on community service projects to make the community we live in better for our members. 

Santee Electric Cooperative is not some large power company headquartered in a far-off state with stockholders from around the world. We are right here in Clarendon, Georgetown, Florence and Williamsburg counties. We were formed by neighbors and friends who came together with the goal to improve the quality of our lives through electricity. Our goal is to continue to do that by improving the quality of your life with the same neighborly approach.

Our cooperative principles guide us, and through your economic participation (a.k.a. "skin in the game") we make sure our focus is on you, the member-owner.

Floyd L. Keels
President and Chief Executive Officer

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