Getting to Know Touchstone Energy
Some of you may have noticed that Frontier Power is your your “Touchstone EnergyCooperative”. Because Frontier Power is a member of Touchstone Energy, our members have added benefits with their service.
Currently there are over 730 Touchstone Energy cooperatives in 46 states serving over 42 million members every day. But Touchstone Energy was originally formed by only 46 cooperatives across the country in 1998. It is an alliance of local, consumer-owned utilities across the country committed to providing superior service at affordable rates to all customers, large and small. This allowed the local cooperatives to successfully face deregulation and competition, effectively use new technology to the co-ops’ advantage, and communicate the strengths of a cooperative. Touchstone Energy was formed to promote the cooperative way of doing business and focus on current and future co-op customer’s needs. By sharing resources with other cooperatives, each can serve their consumer’s better than before. Touchstone Energy also helps co-op customers distinguish cooperative views from other providers and to know that cooperatives are owned by their consumers. Your local Touchstone Energy Cooperative, Frontier Power, is committed to providing everyone in the community with leading energy technology and personalized service they can depend on.
The word Touchstone, which was chosen by its members, exemplifies the organization. It means a measure of quality and value. Some quality values Frontier Power encompasses include employees providing energy and service commitment to the community, local hometown orientation, human connections, reliability, offering customers a voice, genuineness, and education about the uniqueness of electric cooperatives. Touchstone Energy promotes the integrity, accountability, innovation, and commitment to community only a local cooperative can offer. We strive to achieve continuously higher standards in the delivery of all products and services and are responsive to customer expectations and requirements for prompt and reliable service. Touchstone Energy cooperatives advertise in their local community supporting many important events in the community and youth development.
Touchstone Energy cooperatives encompass “The Seven Cooperative Principles”:
- Voluntary and Open Membership – Regardless of race, gender, social, political or religious preference, your local co-op is a voluntary organization open to all people able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership.
- Democratic Member Control – Members of cooperatives have control in setting policies and making decisions. Members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote). The elected representatives are accountable to the membership.
- Members’ Economic Participation – 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 cooperative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing the cooperative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; 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. Any agreements entered into with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, are done so as to maintain democratic control by the members, retaining their cooperative autonomy.
- 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.
- Cooperation Among Cooperatives – By working together through local, national, regional and international structures, cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement.
- Concern for Community – Through policies accepted by their members, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities while focusing on member needs.
Touchstone Energy is an investment and a commitment in your cooperative’s future. Frontier Power invests in Touchstone Energy three different ways:
- One time initiation fee when joining – This is a nominal amount to cover the costs of getting the cooperative integrated into the system and supplying it with all the materials and information available to Touchstone Energy Cooperatives.
- Annual member investment, which is determined through a rate formula based on energy revenues (one rate for residential and a lower rate for commercial and industrial).
- Local matching investment requires that each Touchstone Energy Cooperative match their annual investment with local advertising and promotions to support the brand message.
These investments are only a fraction of a percent of total revenues, and the returns are and will continue to be far greater than our investments.
Remember, Touchstone Energy is not another company, it’s simply hundreds of local cooperatives joining together to gain the benefits of a large organization, which can be reciprocated to our local consumers. Being a member of Touchstone Energy is a great benefit to each of the local cooperatives’ members. The same high-quality, responsive service they have come to expect will continue. Whatever changes come, members can be confident they will benefit by choosing to stay with their local cooperative. To learn more about Touchstone Energy, just click on the logo below.