Article I Membership

Section 1. Requirements for Membership.

Any person, firm, association, partnership, corporation, legal entity, or body politic or subdivision thereof will become a member of Columbia Rural Electric Association, hereinafter called the “Cooperative” upon receipt of energy, utility service, or related products or services from the Cooperative, provided that individual or entity has first:

  1. Made an application for membership therein, in which the applicant agrees to comply with the following:
    1. Agreed to transact business with the Cooperative as hereinafter specified;
    2. Agreed to comply with and be bound by the articles of incorporation and bylaws of the Cooperative and any rules and regulations adopted by the board, and
    3. Paid the membership fee hereinafter specified.

No member may hold more than one membership in the Cooperative, and no membership in the Cooperative shall be transferable, except as provided in these bylaws.

All members have the same rights and obligations. By becoming a member each member agrees and acknowledges that: every member is a vital and integral part of the Cooperative; the Cooperative’s successful operation depends upon every member complying with the governing documents; and all members are united in an interdependent relationship.

Section 2. Member Certificates.

Membership in the Cooperative shall be evidenced by a notation in the books and records which shall be in such form and shall contain such provisions approved by the board. No membership shall be issued for less than the membership fee fixed in these bylaws, nor until such membership fee has been fully paid.

Section 3. Joint Membership

A husband and wife may establish a joint membership. Upon the death of a married member, the survivor becomes the member subject to the provisions of Section 4(b)1 for the conversion of joint membership. Patronage will accrue in the name of the surviving joint member immediately upon the death of his or her spouse. The term “member” as used in these bylaws shall be deemed to include a husband and wife holding a joint membership and any provisions relating to the rights and liabilities of membership shall apply equally with respect to the holders of a joint membership.

Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the effect of a joint membership shall be as follows:

  1. The presence at a meeting of either or both shall be regarded as the presence of one member and shall constitute a joint waiver of notice of the meeting;
  2. The vote of either or both shall constitute one joint vote;
  3. A waiver of notice signed by either or both shall constitute a joint waiver of notice of the meeting;
  4. Notice to either shall constitute notice to both;
  5. Expulsion of either shall terminate the joint membership;
  6. Withdrawal of either shall terminate the joint membership;
  7. Either but not both may be elected or appointed as an officer or board member, provided that both meet the qualifications for such office.

Section 4. Conversion of Membership.

  1. A membership may also be converted to a joint membership between husband and wife, upon the written request of the holder thereof and agreement by such holder and his or her spouse to comply with the articles of incorporation, bylaws, and rules and regulations adopted by the board.
  2. Upon death, dissolution of marriage, legal separation, legal conclusion of the relationship, or failure to principally reside in the same location between joint members:
    1. If one joint member continues to legally use, receive, or purchase a Cooperative product or service at the same location, then the joint membership converts to a membership in the name of the joint member continuing to legally use, receive, or purchase a Cooperative service at the same location;
    2. If joint members continue to legally use, receive, or purchase a Cooperative service at the same location; then the joint membership converts to a membership in the name of the joint member determined by the Cooperative; or
    3. If neither joint member continues to legally use, receive, or purchase a Cooperative product or service at the same location, then the joint membership terminates.

Section 5. Membership Fees.

Upon the payment of the membership fee, in an amount as determined from time to time by the board of directors of the Cooperative, a member shall be eligible for all products and services of the Cooperative in accordance with these bylaws and by board policies.

Section 6. Purchase of Utility Products & Service.

Each member shall, as soon as energy or utility products and service shall be available, purchase from the Cooperative all energy or utility products and service used on the premises specified in his application for membership, and shall pay therefore at rates which shall from time to time be fixed by the board. It is expressly understood that amounts paid for energy or utility products and services in excess of the cost of same are furnished by members as capital and each member shall be credited with the capital so furnished as provided in these bylaws. Each member shall pay to the Cooperative such minimum amount, regardless of the amount of energy, products, or services consumed, as shall be fixed by the board from time to time. Each member shall pay all amounts owed by the member to the Cooperative as and when the same shall become due and payable.

Section 7. Termination of Membership.

  1. Any member may withdraw from membership upon compliance with such uniform terms and conditions as the board may prescribe. The board may, by the affirmative vote of not less than two-thirds of all the members of the board, expel any member who fails to comply with any of the provisions of the articles of incorporation, bylaws or rules or regulations adopted by the board, but only if such member shall have been given written notice by the Cooperative that such failure makes him liable to expulsion and such failure shall have continued for at least ten (10) days after such notice was given. Any expelled member may be reinstated by vote of the board or by vote of the members at any annual or special meeting. The membership of a member who for a period of 6 months after service is available to the member, has not purchased utility products or service from the Cooperative, or of a member who has ceased to purchase energy from the Cooperative, may be cancelled by resolution of the board.
  2. Upon the withdrawal, death, cessation of existence, or expulsion of a member, the membership of such member shall thereupon terminate. Termination of membership in any manner shall not release a member or his or her estate from any debts due the Cooperative. Other than the right to receive retired and refunded patronage (capital credits) and rights in the event of the Cooperative’s dissolution, then in the event of termination of membership, the Cooperative’s duties, obligations, and liabilities imposed by these bylaws to the member cease and the Cooperative may discontinue providing any utility products or service to the terminated individual or entity.
  3. In case of withdrawal or termination in any manner of a membership which was initiated, approved, and accepted as a new membership prior to January 1, 1987, the Cooperative shall repay to the member the amount of the membership fee paid by the member provided, however, that the Cooperative shall deduct from the amount of the membership fee the amount of any debts or obligations owed by the member to the Cooperative. As to memberships that were initiated, approved, or accepted after December 31, 1986, the Cooperative shall not repay any membership fees under any circumstances.