Cooperative Membership

Roadside sunsetWelcome to Beartooth Electric–your member-owned electric cooperative.

What is a Cooperative?

A cooperative is a business owned and governed by its members.

Providing electric service the cooperative way distinguishes electric cooperatives from investor-owned and municipal electric utilities. The business operates for the benefit of its members, rather than investors. Electric cooperative employees and board members are a part of the community the cooperative serves.

The nation has about 1,000 electric cooperatives, which serve 37 million people in 47 states, which is about 12% of the nation’s population.

Types of Membership

Single — The membership is in one person’s name as shown on the signed member card, and only that person is eligible to vote.

Joint — Two people are listed on the account. Either person can cast the membership’s single vote—as long as both have signed the membership card.

Organizational — The membership is in the name of an organization or business. The persons whom the organization designates (and whose signatures are on file with BEC) are entitled to cast the membership’s single vote.

Membership Responsibilities

Section one of the co-op’s bylaws defines the formal requirements of membership. Generally, however, the success of the co-op depends on members like you being well informed and active in the business of the co-op.

  • Monthly, normally on the last Tuesday of the month, you can attend BEC’s board of trustees meeting that is open to everyone including members, the public, and the press. The specific time, date, and place of the meeting is always posted on the home page of this website. At the beginning and end of the meeting, you can express your concerns to the board. During breaks, you can discuss any issue with trustees.
  • Annually, usually in September, the co-op holds a meeting for members where members vote on trustees to govern the co-op on their behalf and on revisions to the bylaws and articles of incorporation.
  • As necessary the co-op asks that you grant BEC the right-of-way easements we need to provide you power and that you promptly report power interruptions and damage to poles or lines.

In addition to attending our monthly and annual meetings, there are other ways you can stay informed. This website always has the most up-to-date news on the co-op. The monthly magazine for members, Rural Montana, discusses issues important to you and your power. You can also subscribe to email updates. Simply fill in the form on the home page.

Online Cooperative Membership Application