This year East Central Energy (ECE) is refunding its largest amount of capital credits to date: over $6 million. Members will see their pay out reflected on their bill due in December.
The ECE Board of Directors recently announced the refund, which brings the total returned to members over time to more than $85 million. Eligible members will see a bold blue line on their billing statement that says, “Capital Credits Pay Out,” and their bill will be reduced by the amount shown on this line.
As owners of the cooperative, members share in its financial success. At the end of the year (after all expenses are covered) extra margins are allocated to those who used and paid for their electric service. Called capital credits, the margins are used to fund long-term infrastructure investments to improve reliability and maintain the system, and help reduce the need to borrow additional debt.
If ECE were to return the total amount of allocations to members, it would have to borrow or increase rates to meet mortgage requirements. Utilizing member capital to improve and maintain the system helps to provide the reliable electric service members expect while doing everything possible to maintain reasonable rates.
The Board of Directors determines annually if there will be a refund, and if so, what portion of members’ capital credits can be paid out. Capital credits is just one of the many benefits that set cooperatives apart from other utility business models.
Most members of ECE for more than one year will receive a pay out on their bill. Members who have moved off the ECE system may receive a capital credits check, which will be mailed to the address ECE has on file.
Former members should call 1-800-254-7944 if they believe the co-op does not have their current address.