Membership Matters by CEO Brian Zelenak: September 2019
A return on your Investment: Look for a bill credit!
By Brian R. Zelenak
I bring you good news this month: If you received your electricity through St. Croix Electric Cooperative in 1999 and/or 2016, on your next bill received after Oct. 15 you will most likely see a CREDIT that DECREASES the amount you owe! (Former members and those receiving more than $100 will be mailed a check.)
Electric cooperatives aren’t like other utilities—you, as a consumer and a member, own a portion of the business. But don’t be afraid – you can enjoy the benefits of membership without having to take on the burden of ownership … and this is the time of year when you reap one of the most tangible rewards: Money back!
As a not-for-profit, St. Croix Electric Cooperative does not have outside investors or sell stock as a way to raise the needed capital to pay for the expansion, replacement and upgrades to our electric system each year. Our members are our investors, and we use the allocated margin (money left after paying expenses) we earn each year as a partial source of funding for this work. We return these margins as capital credits to our members in future years.
At the Sept. 5 meeting, SCEC’s board of directors approved the retirement (payment) of $844,995 in capital credits to all members who paid for electricity from SCEC in 1999 and a partial retirement of credits to current members who paid for electricity in 2015. The portion you receive depends on how much electricity you used (and paid for) in 1999 and/or 2016.
Capital credits are like a huge pie: Each eligible co-op member gets a piece of pie based on how much energy they used during the year and how much they paid for it. A residential member whose monthly bill is relatively modest will get a small piece of the pie, but larger industrial members who pay thousands of dollars each month will receive a much bigger piece.
Your capital credit account, similar to a bank savings account, is the accumulation of margins (the amount left after subtracting the co-op’s operating expenses from the amount of money collected) allocated to you each year based on your use and amount paid. At the end of each year, the cooperative deposits your allocated amount into your capital credits account. Every July members receive an allocation notice showing their portion of the pie from the previous year as well as a year-to-date total.
SCEC was incorporated in 1937. Since the first round of capital credits was retired in 1963, we have returned to members more than $18 million.
Until next month,