Members to receive November/December bill credits

woman opens mail to see that she has received a credit on her bill

Each year, your democratically elected Board of Trustees reviews the Co-op’s financial condition to determine if money can be returned to the members – YOU!

You own this cooperative.

Did you realize you are a member of a not-for-profit electric utility? When you signed up to receive electricity from Flathead Electric Cooperative, you became a member-owner of your Co-op. Member-owned utilities are very different from investor-owned utilities. Investor-owned utilities return profits to their investors, not to the customers they serve. Member-owned utilities exist only to provide low-cost, reliable electricity to members – not to make money for investors.

What is a capital credit?

One benefit of being a co-op member is that you share in any excess revenue (not profits, because cooperatives are not-for-profits). This excess is allocated back to members as “capital credits.” Each year, the Board of Trustees meets to review the financial condition of the Cooperative. If they determine that it is financially sound, the Trustees discuss the general retirement of capital credits.

This year, the Board determined that your Co-op is financially sound and elected to retire a percentage of the capital credits allocated to member accounts in 2008 and 2009. That means about $3,073,00 from 2008 and 2009’s unretired capital credit balance will be returned to members in November and December 2023.

How are capital credits returned to me?

Most capital credits are returned to members via November/December bill credits. Crediting bills instead of sending checks saves members a significant amount of money in printing and postage costs, reduces the number of checks that go unclaimed, and saves members the step of cashing or depositing a check. Members with large capital credit refunds, along with inactive members, will still receive a check.

Why are these capital credits from 2008 and 2009? Why aren’t they from last year?

Capital credits are not typically returned the year they are earned so that they can be used to fund future needs, such as electric lines, bucket trucks, and other needed equipment. This reduces the Co-op’s need to borrow money and helps keep rates low for members.   

Do you have unclaimed capital credits?

Because capital credits typically aren’t retired for several years, it’s important that you keep the Co-op informed of your current address – even if you move out of the area. Your Co-op wants to locate former members who have unclaimed capital credits on file. Please search for your name or business using our unclaimed capital credits lookup tool.

What happens to unclaimed capital credits?

Under Montana law, a cooperative can use unclaimed capital credits for educational purposes, such as your Co-op’s scholarship program.

Learn more about capital credits (and watch a funny video explaining them!) on our capital credits webpage.

Courtney Stone

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