About North Arkansas Electric Cooperative
North Arkansas Electric Cooperative was incorporated in 1939 and just one year later, on June 6th of 1940, energized its first line. As an electric cooperative, NAEC is a private independent electric utility incorporated under the laws of Arkansas. We are owned by the members we serve and governed by a nine member board of directors elected from the membership, which sets policies and procedures that are implemented by the cooperative's professional staff. North Arkansas Electric Cooperative is one of seventeen distribution cooperatives located in Arkansas. Ranked 5th in the state, NAEC serves approximately 36,000 member accounts in Northern Arkansas. With over 4,500 miles of power line and 27 different substation sites, North Arkansas Electric Cooperative provides electric service in parts of eight counties. North Arkansas Electric Cooperative is headquartered in Salem, Arkansas and operates two other full service offices located in Ash Flat and Mountain Home.
In addition to electric service, North Arkansas Electric Cooperative is involved in community development, small business development and jobs creation, improvement of water and sewer systems, and assistance in delivery of health care and educational services.
In 2000, NAEC became a Touchstone Energy Cooperative, which is an alliance of more than 700 cooperatives in 46 states that collectively deliver power and energy solutions to more than 22 million customers every day. As a member-owned cooperative, we strive to deliver high standards of service to all customers — residential, commercial and industrial. We have a local presence and unique ties to the communities we serve and offer the resources of a nationwide network to bring added value and benefit to customers.
About Electric Cooperatives
An electric cooperative is a not-for-profit corporation that is jointly owned by its members. Unlike investor-owned electric utilities which are designed to make a profit for their shareholders, North Arkansas Electric is a not-for-profit, cooperative based business. It refunds any money collected above the cost of operations to its members in the form of “capital credits”. These credits are refunds assigned annually to your account and refunded as approved by the board of directors when financial conditions permit.
We are governed by a nine-member board of directors. Directors are members, not employees, elected by you. Each year, we mail to all of our members a financial report and notice of our annual business meeting held in June. In addition, we mail a monthly publication called the Messenger with your bill to keep you informed as to the workings of the Cooperative and communicate items of safety and general interest.
Electric Cooperative Quick Facts
In the United States today, more than 900 electric distribution and generation and transmission cooperatives:
- Serve more than 42 million people in 47 states.
- Deliver electricity to more than 18 million businesses, industries, homes, schools, churches, farms, irrigation systems, seasonal residences, and other establishments in 2,500 of 3,143 counties in the U.S.
- Serve 12 percent of the nation's population.
- Have assets worth $140 billion.
- Own and maintain 2.5 million miles, or 42 percent, of the nation’s electric distribution lines, covering three-quarters of the nation's landmass.
- Deliver approximately 10 percent of the total kilowatt-hours sold each year.
- Generate 5 percent of the total electricity produced annually.
- Employ nearly 70,000 workers.
- Pay more than $1.4 billion in state and local taxes.
The Seven Cooperative Principles
Originally drawn up by Charles Howarth, one of 28 weavers and other artisans who founded the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers in Rochdale, England, on December 21, 1844, these principles governing cooperative operations were introduced into the United States in 1874 by the National Grange, and formally written down by the International Cooperative Alliance in 1937 (last updated in 1995).
Open and Voluntary Membership
Membership in a cooperative is open to all persons 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. Elected representatives (directors/trustees) are elected from among the membership and are accountable to the membership. 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, helps 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.
These principles are underpinned by six ideals—the so-called cooperative values of Self-Help, Self-Responsibility, Democracy, Equality, Equity, and Solidarity. In addition, the International Cooperative Alliance lists cooperative “ethical values” of Honesty, Openness, Social Responsibility, and Caring for Others.
About Touchstone Energy
The Touchstone Energy Cooperatives brand represents a nationwide alliance made of more than 700 local, consumer-owned electric cooperatives in 46 states. Touchstone Energy co-ops collectively deliver power and energy solutions to more than 30 million members every day. Electric cooperatives distribute power for 75 percent of the U.S. land mass over 2.4 million miles of power lines.
Electric cooperatives were established to provide electricity to rural America, and now make up the largest electric utility network in the nation. Touchstone Energy is the national brand identity for that network.
Touchstone Energy co-ops are owned by the members they serve and are committed to providing reliable electricity at the lowest price possible. In short, co-ops “look out” for the members they serve. Touchstone Energy co-ops provide high standards of service according to their four core values: integrity, accountability, innovation and commitment to community.
Touchstone Energy co-ops rank well ahead of their industry counterparts when it comes to customer satisfaction. Recent data from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), one the nation’s most recognized measures of customer satisfaction, gives Touchstone Energy cooperatives an average score of “81” out of a possible 100, outclassing utility industry satisfaction score of “74.”
To learn more about Touchstone Energy, visit their website.