photo of Members Load Ferry for Annual Meeting

What is a Co-op?

Members helping members!

Co-ops are Different

If your name is on your OPALCO electric bill, then you are a member of our local non-profit member owned and operated electric co-op! With your ownership comes:


Members have the right and responsibility to elect the board of directors who make the policies and set the rates. Attend board meetings and vote!.

Capital Credits

A financial return, calculated each year as a percentage of the year-end margin, and returned to you after 25 years of working capital. Learn about capital credits.

Co-op History


FDR started electric co-ops


OPALCO founded


electric cooperatives in the nation

42 million

people served by electric co-ops


of US landmass powered by co-ops


electric coops in WA

What Can Co-op Members DO?

A co-op is built on member participation! What will you do to help shape our future?
Not sure? Contact us. We’re happy to help!

Be Informed!

Use Your Voice!

Prepare for Tomorrow!

Be a Co-op Steward!

The Seven Cooperative Principles

Independent, democratically-governed businesses, electric cooperatives are organized under the Rochdale Principles, also known as the Seven Cooperative Principles:

Co-ops 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.

Co-ops are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. Members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote).

Members contribute equitably to – and democratically control – the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the co-op. Members receive limited compensation, through capital credits, on a cycle determined by each board of directors. Members allocate these capital reserves (through margins) until distribution for any or all of the following purposes: developing their co-op, benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the co-operative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.

Co-ops 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.

Co-ops provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their organizations. They inform the general public—particularly young people and opinion leaders—about the nature and benefits of cooperation.

Co-ops serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities.