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About Us: The Cooperative Difference

About Electric Cooperatives

About Electric Cooperatives: The Co-op Business Model

Electric cooperatives were established to provide electric service to primarily rural areas where investor-owned utilities were unwilling to serve, or where electricity was so highly priced, most residents could not afford it.

During the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt created the REA Act which was incorporated into the New Deal to stimulate growth in our dying country. The REA Act encouraged co-ops to be formed and brought power to rural America. In doing so, co-ops encouraged economic development and the quality of life for many Americans. This led to the creation of the National Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) which provides help to electric cooperatives all across the nation.

A cooperative is a very specific business model. “A Cooperative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically-controlled enterprise” (Source, Coop,

By providing safe, affordable and reliable power, many cooperatives are significant economic drivers within the local communities.

Electric Cooperatives are:

  • Not-for-profit businesses
  • Member-owned
  • Governed by a board of directors elected by the membership which sets policies and procedures that are implemented by the cooperatives’ management
  • Follow the 7 Cooperative Principles

National Facts about electric cooperatives  



About Choptank Electric Cooperative

Choptank Electric, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative, is a not-for-profit, member-owned, electric distribution Co-op serving approximately 53,000 residential, commercial, and industrial members in all nine counties on 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. Then in 1976, Choptank Electric Cooperative joined Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC) to obtain lower wholesale power costs.

Choptank Electric has 10 board seats. One seat represents each county for which is served by Choptank Electric along with one additional seat which represents the Ocean Pines District. The Board of Directors is elected on a three-year term basis at the Annual Meeting.

Additional Resources:

Cooperative By-Laws

Choptank Electric 2017 Fact Sheet

2017 Annual Report

2016 Audited Financial Reports


About ODEC

Incorporated in 1948, Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC) provides reliable, cost-effective, environmentally balanced, wholesale electric services to our 11 member distribution cooperatives in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.  Our core business is generating, purchasing and delivering electricity to our members.  ODEC is a not-for-profit generation and transmission cooperative that operates for the benefit of our members, who are our owners.  ODEC and our members are each governed by a Board of Directors comprised of representatives elected from and by the respective entity’s total membership.  ODEC is a not-for-profit member-owned cooperative and has no capital stock.

For more information about ODEC, please visit


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.

For more information about Touchstone Energy, please visit


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