About Your Co-op
Welcome to the Cooperative
In 1939, a group of forward-looking leaders in southwest Colorado took advantage of the lending capability of the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) designed to extend electricity to the under-served areas of the country, and established Empire Electric Association, Inc. - a rural electric cooperative.
Essentially, a cooperative is owned and controlled by the people who use its services, thus anyone who has an active electric service in EEA's service territory, is technically a member-owner and has a voice. Regardless of the number of accounts a member may have, only one membership is allowed. Memberships can be held jointly, for example, a husband and wife who hold equal responsibility for their account(s). Businesses served by EEA are also member-owners and have a voice. For more explanation on membership, please see the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws.
EEA, a member-owned nonprofit rural electric cooperative, exists to serve it members in the most cost-effective and efficient way possible. EEA serves portions of southwest Colorado and southeast Utah, providing energy and energy-related services to Cortez, Dolores, Mancos, Dove Creek, Towaoc and Monticello. Click here to view the Service Area Map.
NRECA's first video, circa 1950's, about the rural electrification efforts. Watch this 26-minute video titled "By the People for the People" or the shorter video about the history of rural electric cooperatives, below.
7 Cooperative Principles
1st Principle: Voluntary and Open Membership
Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political, or religious discrimination.
2nd Principle: Democratic Member Control
Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies, and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary cooperatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and cooperatives at other levels are organized in a democratic manner.
3rd Principle: Member Economic Participation
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. They 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 the 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.
4th Principle: Autonomy And 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 by their members and maintain their cooperative autonomy.
5th Principle: Education, Training, and Information
Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public -- particularly young people and opinion leaders -- about the nature and benefits of cooperation.
6th Principle: Cooperation Among Cooperatives
Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures.
7th Principle: Concern For Community
While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.
Empire Electric Association, Inc. is a Touchstone Energy cooperative.
EEA will be sharing ideas and advanced technologies with other co-ops. The newly formed alliance broadens our outlook, while allowing us to increase our commitment to the people, businesses and communities we serve. Becoming a Touchstone Energy Cooperative will unite the co-op with preferred power providers across the nation so customers everywhere know the best local electric company is serving them.
For decades, our nation's co-ops have partnered with businesses and communities, helping them develop and flourish. Owned by the members, electric cooperatives always put customer needs first. As a co-op we are always seeking ways to deliver the best possible service to the customer and their communities. In becoming a Touchstone Energy Cooperative, we continue to reach that goal.
In the weeks and months to come, you will begin to hear about a new era of competition for electricity providers. As states across our country begin to debate and enact legislation that could dramatically change the electric utility industry, you know you can count on the Cooperative to offer superior value to the customers.
In preparing for this competition, electric co-ops all over the country have been talking with residential and business customers about their needs and expectations from their electric co-op. Feedback has been tremendous! We gained a wealth of information about what we are doing well and how we can do even better. We believe by coming together in a partnership with other electric cooperatives, we can better meet customer needs and fulfill their expectations.
In coming months, you will see new Touchstone Energy television, newspapers and magazine advertisements, logos, signs, and sponsored events. We are excited about this new alliance and look forward to building on the relationship we have worked hard to establish with our customers.
We look forward to continuing to serve you and strengthening communities and businesses through our partnership in Touchstone Energy.
Visit the Touchstone Energy® website to find out more about this valuable cooperative effort.