Our Power

The Cooperative Difference

What makes Minnkota Power Cooperative different from many utilities? The answer is simple: We are a not-for-profit cooperative and exist for the sole purpose of meeting the needs of our member-owners. As a cooperative, we are owned and governed by a board of directors democratically elected from the membership – not faraway investors.

As a generation and transmission (G&T) cooperative, Minnkota both generates and transmits wholesale electricity to meet the power needs of its member-owner distribution cooperatives who, in turn, sell power to retail consumers. Those consumers are members of their distribution cooperative, meaning they collectively own the cooperative and have a voice in its decision-making. Electric cooperatives serve 20 million American homes, businesses, farms and schools in 48 states.

Cooperatives are everywhere — helping people meet their common needs through group effort. They provide just about any good or service their members need. Cooperatives offer credit and financial services, health care, child care, housing, insurance, legal and professional services. Cooperatives sell food, farm supplies,hardware and recreational equipment. They provide utilities, such as electricity, telephone and television. Cooperatives also process and market products and goods for their members.

Cooperative Principles

Open and Voluntary Membership

Membership in a cooperative is open to all people who can reasonably use its services and stand willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, regardless of race, religion, gender, or economic circumstances.

Democratic Member Control

Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. Representatives (directors/trustees) are elected among the membership and are accountable to them. In primary cooperatives, members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote); cooperatives at other levels are organized in a democratic manner.

Members’ Economic Participation

Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital remains the common property of the cooperative. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing the cooperative; setting up reserves; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.

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 as well as their unique identity.

Education, Training and Information

Education and training for members, elected representatives (directors/trustees), CEOs and employees help them effectively contribute to the development of their cooperatives. Communications about the nature and benefits of cooperatives, particularly with the general public and opinion leaders, help boost cooperative understanding.

Cooperation Among Cooperatives

By working together through local, national, regional and international structures, cooperatives improve services, bolster local economies, and deal more effectively with social and community needs.

Concern for Community

Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies supported by the membership.

Learn more about the value of rural electric cooperatives