Minnesota Valley Cooperative Light and Power Association was founded in 1937 by a group of rural residents that had the foresight to bring electricity into their homes. Minnesota Valley is divided into seven districts with each district represented by a member on the Board of Directors. Currently, Minnesota Valley has over 3,260 miles of power lines and serves over 5,250 members located in Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Renville, Yellow Medicine and Swift counties. Minnesota Valley continues to provide affordable, safe and reliable electricity to its members.
The 7 Cooperative Principles
Electric cooperatives are private, independent electric utilities, owned by the members they serve. Democratically governed businesses, electric cooperatives are organized under the Cooperative (Rochdale) Principles, anchoring them firmly in the communities they serve and ensuring that they are closely regulated by their consumers.
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. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. Most cooperatives continue to have equal voting rights - one member, one vote.
3rd Principle: Member Economic Participation - Members contribute equally to and democratically control the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative. The member-elected directors allocate that capital to maintaining and improving the business.
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 the Community - While focusing on members needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by the members.