The biggest difference is in what motivates us.
Heartland is a cooperative that was formed by rural Kansans to serve rural Kansans. Our members are our owners. Our primary motivation is to provide reliable and affordable electric service to our members. We operate on a not-for-profit basis, and any revenues above and beyond current and projected expenses are distributed among members in the form of capital credits.
On the other hand, investor-owned utilities are owned by shareholders and are focused on generating profits for their shareholders. Their primary motivation is to maximize profits, which may involve balancing the needs of their customers with the need to generate a return on investment for shareholders.
We are also different in terms of governance. Investor-owned utilities are governed by corporate boards, regulated by statewide commissions, and are subject to oversight by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Heartland is governed by an eight-member Board of Directors, each of whom is a member of the cooperative and is elected by peer members in their area.