Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative’s Board of Directors has approved the retirement of $3 million in capital credits to its member-owners. This is the third-highest return in the Cooperative’s history.
Capital credit retirements are one of the more visible benefits of membership in an electric cooperative. Capital credits are each member-owner’s share of OTEC’s margins earned during the year. Each year, after all operating expenses have been paid, remaining margins are allocated to each member’s capital credit account based on the amount they were billed during previous years.
These capital credits become each member’s “owners’ equity” and investment in OTEC. Each year, the Board makes a decision on how much they can return to members, without reducing the cooperative’s financial strength.
“Being able to return capital credits represents OTEC’s commitment to operating a financially solid electric Cooperative,” said Heidi Dalton, OTEC’s Chief Financial Officer. “Just as we are committed to keeping the lights on and power flowing, we are also committed to returning to our member-owners a portion of what they have paid the cooperative for their electricity. We thank our Board of Directors for ensuring that OTEC operates a financially strong Cooperative and their support of this significant financial distribution.”
Members can expect to receive their checks in mid-December. Returns are applied directly to the member’s account if the amount is less than $15, or if the member has a past due balance. Members with returns greater than $15 and no past due accounts will receive a check in the mail.
Since OTEC first began retiring capital credits in 1996, the co-op has returned $46 million to its member-owners. Unlike an investor-owned utility, which returns a portion of profits back to their stockholders, non-profit cooperatives like OTEC allocate and periodically return those funds back to the member-owners of the cooperative who live in our communities.
OTEC members who may be leaving the cooperative are encouraged to provide OTEC with a current mailing address so that capital credits can be returned as they are retired.
Please visit our Capital Credits page for more information on Capital Credits.