Did you know that as a member, you are a part-owner of Washington Electric Cooperative?
It’s true, and one of the benefits of being a member-owner is that you receive capital credits that represent your share of ownership.
Washington Electric is a not-for-profit cooperative, which means that any margins, or money left over at the end of the year after expenses are paid, gets distributed among co-op members based on their electricity purchases for that year. This process is called an allocation. Your November billing statement will show you the total of capital credits allocated to you for the previous year.
Capital credits accumulate in a holding account in your name. That way, the cooperative can use the funds for leveraging loans to finance new lines and equipment, offset unexpected expenses such as storm damage, and for general operating funds. This is one way Washington Electric saves money on interest costs and keeps electric rates low.
Depending on the cooperative’s financial condition, the board of trustees determines when to return (also called “retire” or “pay out”) a portion of capital credits back to the members.
Current members will see the capital credit retirement as a credit on their December electric bill. Former members will receive checks in the mail. (We attempt to locate former members for whom we no longer have valid mailing addresses by printing their names in the February and March issues of Ohio Cooperative Living magazine.) Your credit amount will depend on how many years you have been a member of the cooperative and how much electricity you purchased during the time period being returned. This year, the co-op will retire capital credits that were earned in 1977 and 1978.
Capital credits are also payable to members’ estates upon death, so it’s important to remember to include them in your estate planning.
Giving money back is just one of the ways Washington Electric Cooperative is different from other utilities. We’re proud to serve you!
If you have questions regarding capital credits, please call (740) 373-2141, extension 5922.