Who We Are


Tri-County EMC is a:


Not-for-profit rural electric utility serving more than 26,000 accounts

TCEMC serves in parts of:

Mission Statement

Tri-County Electric Membership Corporation is a member-driven cooperative committed to:

  • Safely provide reliable electric power at a reasonable cost
  • Offer superior service
  • Take an active role in supporting the communities it serves



In the early 1930’s:

  • Rural people wanted electricity just like people living in the cities
  • President Franklin Delano Roosevelt recognized that rural people needed this convenience

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the:

  • Formation of rural electric cooperatives (Tri-County Electric Membership Corporation)
  • Rural Electrification Administration (REA)


With help from REA, Tri-County Electric Membership Corporation was chartered:

  • On May 8, 1940
  • By a group of members who banded together to bring themselves the service they needed (Electricity)

The cooperative had a meek beginning in 1940:

  • With only 304 miles of line being built
  • Serving mostly rural homes and farms

As time past the cooperative grew, expanding lines to areas that would not have been reached by the investor-owned utilities.


The statewide cooperative known as the North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation was formed in North Carolina in 1952 with 26 electric cooperatives along with Tri-County
Its primary purpose was to:

  • Generate and purchase power
  • Purchase utility materials in bulk
  • Provide legislative support to the member cooperatives


Territorial boundaries were established for utility providers in 1960 giving Tri-County service territory in:

  • Wayne County
  • Duplin County
  • Lenoir County
  • Johnston County
  • Jones County
  • Sampson County
  • Wilson County

Tri-County located its first office on North William Street in Goldsboro.


In the fall of 1977, the cooperative moved from Goldsboro to a new headquarters building in Dudley.


The cooperative was originally organized to provide lights and power to:

  • Homes
  • Farms

It has kept pace with changing times and now serves a wide variety of:

  • Industrial
  • Recreational
  • Educational
  • Other community interests

Over 80 years after its meek beginning in 1940, Tri-County Electric Membership Corporation now serves over 26,243 meters and operates and maintains 2,671 miles of line.


The 7 Cooperative Principles

Cooperatives operate according to a core set of principles which make electric cooperatives different from other electric utilities.

Open & Voluntary Membership

Those who may reasonably use the cooperative’s services (within the practical limits imposed by existing facilities, geography, etc.) must be permitted to join.

None may be barred for such reasons as:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Nationality
  • Economic situation

Democratic Member Control

Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members. Members participate in setting policies and making decisions. The elected representatives are accountable to the membership.

Voting rights:

  • Primary cooperatives – members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote)
  • Cooperatives at other levels – are organized in a democratic manner

Member’s Economic Participation

Dollars left over after all expenses:

  • Would be regarded as profit for other organizations
  • Do not belong to the cooperative (but to the members)
  • Must be allocated on the co-op books

Such dollars are returned to members on a basis decided by the member-elected board in proportion to each member’s use of the service.

Autonomy & Independence

Controlled by their members, Cooperatives are autonomous self-help organizations. On terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their autonomy, Cooperatives.

  • Enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments
  • Raise capital from external sources

Education, Training & Information

So they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives, they provide education and training for their:

  • Members
  • Elected representatives
  • Managers and employees

They inform the general public about the nature and benefits of cooperation, particularly young people and opinion leaders.

Cooperation Among Cooperatives

Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through:

  • Local
  • National
  • Regional
  • International structures
  • Concern for Community

While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members

Concern for Community

While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.