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About Us: The Cooperative Difference

About Electric Cooperatives

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. Did you know Electric Cooperatives: 

  • Are located in 80% of the nation’s counties
  • Are the largest electric utility network in the nation
  • Total more than 900 local systems in 47 states
  • Have 42 million member-owners
  • Distribute power over 2.5 million miles of line
  • Serve 75% of the U.S. land mass
  • Own $130 billion in generation, transmission, and distribution assets
  • More than 88% of all local electric co-ops offer electricity generated from renewable sources.
  • What makes our Cooperatives different


About Choptank Electric Cooperative

Choptank Electric, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative, is a not-for-profit, member-owned, electric distribution Co-op located on Maryland's Eastern Shore serving approximately 53,000 residential, commercial, and industrial members. Choptank Electric Cooperative exists to provide reliable and cost effective electricity that improves the quality of life for our member-owners located rurally in all nine counties of Maryland's Eastern Shore. The cooperative was incorporated as Choptank Cooperative, Inc. on Sept. 21, 1938, following passage of the Rural Electrification Act. Its first 78 miles of line were energized in Caroline County on Dec. 15, 1939, serving 184 members. The cooperative’s name was changed to Choptank Electric Cooperative in 1942. For additional information on how the Cooperative is governed, please read the By-Laws


About Touchstone Energy Cooperatives

Touchstone Energy is a national alliance of local, member-owned electric cooperatives providing high standards of service to members large and small. More than 740 Touchstone Energy cooperatives in 44 states are delivering energy and energy solutions to more than 16 million members every day. Touchstone Energy cooperatives serve their members with integrity, accountability, innovation, and a longstanding commitment to communities and collectively deliver power and energy solutions to more than 30 million members every day.

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 “83” out of a possible 100, outclassing utility industry satisfaction score of “77.”

For more facts about your Co-op and our power supplier, ODEC (Old Dominion Electric Cooperative) reference this fact sheet, read the  2016 Annual Report, or review the 2016 Audited Financial Statements.

The difference between Choptank Electric Cooperative and other power companies is that we are "Owned by those we serve." Each person who receives service from this non-profit, member-owned electric utility is a member - and an owner of the cooperative.The Cooperative Principles are the core beliefs in the Cooperative Business model.  


Democratic Control of the Cooperative

Member owners have a voice in the direction the cooperative takes by participating in the voting process. Members have the right to vote on the leadership and directors of the Cooperative by electing directors and voting on bylaw changes. Each member has one vote. All members also have the opportunity to attend the annual meeting and learn more about what the Co-op is doing for you.

Non-profit Standing

Although rates are set to produce a margin, all margins are allocated back to the members, based on patronage. The member's share of the margins is called a "capital credit." Members receive a patronage refund of these capital credits over a period of time that is in keeping with the policy and financial posture of the Cooperative.

Commitment to the Community

The Cooperative works with many schools, churches, community agencies and civic organizations to further our programs and goals. Through donations and in-kind services, the Cooperative plays an important part in the events and activities of communities throughout its entire service area.

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