Flathead Electric Co-op Returns $2.8M In Capital Credits

The Flathead Electric Co-op Board of Trustees recently elected to retire a percentage of capital credits from 2008 member accounts. This month, over $2.8 million will be paid to Co-op members, both active and inactive.

This December’s retirement marked the first time that capital credit payments under $200 were credited to current members’ bills, rather than mailed as checks. This change saved Co-op members a significant amount of money in printing and postage costs, reduced the number of uncashed checks, and relieved members of the extra step of cashing or depositing a physical check.

The Co-op mailed checks to current members with credits over $200, and to inactive Co-op members, i.e., those who belonged to the Co-op in 2008 but are not current members.

When members sign up to receive electric service from Flathead Electric Cooperative, each becomes a member-owner of the Co-op, which is not-for-profit. One benefit of Co-op membership is the return of excess revenue to member-owners as “capital credits,” which are retired–or paid–as the Co-op’s financial condition permits.

Capital credits are not returned the year they are earned so that they can be used to fund electric lines, bucket trucks, and other needed equipment. This reduces the Co-op’s need to borrow money, and in turn, helps keep rates low for members. Amounts returned are determined by each member’s individual energy use during a particular capital credits year.

Flathead Electric would like to locate former members who have unclaimed capital credits from 2008 or previous years. Please search for your name or business using the Co-op’s unclaimed capital credits lookup tool.

“We do our best to return capital credits to our former members, but when we can’t find them, our goal becomes reinvesting those dollars back into the communities we serve in the most meaningful and impactful way we can,” says Mark Johnson, Flathead Electric Co-op General Manager.

When capital credits go unclaimed for more than 5 years, Montana law allows them to go into a fund for education. For example, that fund provides the Co-op scholarships awarded each year. Recently, it afforded the seed money for Phase II of the Highway 2 Sidewalk Project in Evergreen, which will greatly improve student safety.

For general information about capital credits, please visit flatheadelectric.com/capitalcredits.

Flathead Electric Co-op was founded in 1937 to bring electric service to rural areas of the Flathead Valley. The Co-op offers generation, transmission, and distribution of affordable, reliable, carbon-free electric energy and is the largest co-op in Montana, serving 56,000+ members, while focusing on community, innovation, and reliability.