News & Insights

Reflecting on the 2019 National Survey on the Cooperative Difference

The 2019 National Survey on the Cooperative Difference is wrap! This year’s survey included 70 cooperatives across 21 states with representation from each NRECA region across the country. Joining the eight cooperatives participating in Touchstone Energy’s national sample were 23 cooperatives from North Carolina, 17 cooperatives in Indiana, and 22 independent cooperatives from around the country. This effort resulted in over 17,500 total interviews among residential members across the nation.
In partnership with Touchstone Energy and NRECA, we explored the concept of beneficial electrification with nearly 7,000 members across the country.  We tested member interest in incentives to switch from fossil fuels to electricity, explored the value they would derive from beneficial electrification and developed messaging guidelines that would resonate most strongly with members. Overwhelmingly, we found that members are focused on the potential bill savings they might enjoy from beneficial electrification. Well over half of members of any age listed saving money as the most important benefit. The second highest benefit is improving the environment, though only 15% of members ranked this as most important to them.
With technology continuing to transform the lives of our members, the survey also explored adoption and interest in smart home technologies and willingness to engage with their cooperative to leverage smart-home technologies in demand response programs. About one-third of our members own at least one smart device, though fewer members express interest in turning their homes into “smart homes.” Younger members, members with higher incomes, and members with shorter tenures with their cooperative are more likely to be owners of smart devices.
Commitment to community is one of Touchstone Energy Cooperative’s core values and literally defines the ‘Cooperative Difference.’  To better understand the value members place on the range of community engagement activities we undertake, we asked members to rate the importance of many of these activities. Members of all ages believe the number one area of community engagement for cooperatives should be to help the community prepare for and respond to natural disasters.
 The full report can be read on
If your cooperative would like to participate in the 2020 National Survey on the Cooperative Difference, please complete this form (hyperlink to the 2020 pdf form) and e-mail it to If you have any questions about next year’s survey, you can contact Scott Saff at 919-875-3037 or by e-mail