Midwest Electric is a cooperative, which means that everyone that has an active account is a member-owner and any margins (profits) that are generated for a given year are allocated back to you in the form of Capital Credits. Every member has a Capital Credit account where those margins are tracked.
Your Capital Credit allocations remain in your account until our Board of Directors authorizes them to be paid back to you. One way this is accomplished is a General Retirement, where the oldest Capital Credits are paid back at their full value. The Board has been striving to maintain a 25-year rotation – paying them back 25 years after they are allocated. Our practice has been to pay of 1/25th of total allocations each year to maintain that cycle. This year we actually expect to pay off allocations from 1996 through 1999 due to smaller allocations during those years. If you have allocations from those years, you will be receiving a check in mid-December that will also include your updated Capital Credit balance. The reason those amounts are held for 25 years is they are used to pay capital expenses such as building new line or replacing aging infrastructure and maintain the system to provide the reliable power you expect.
Another way Capital Credits can be paid back is to refund a part of the Current Layer - the most recent year, which has two primary benefits. First, it gets some money back to all current members, helping new members understand what it means to be part of a cooperative. Secondly, it pays off the entire amount for some accounts so that we don’t have to keep track of them for 25 years before being able to pay them back. Current Layer retirements are paid back at a discounted rate to reflect the value of receiving that money now as opposed to 25 years in the future. Members can decline the Current Layer discounted payment by returning the check to Midwest. The full amount will then be left in your account to be paid in a General Retirement. You should be receiving a check for a portion of your 2020 margins in December, unless that amount is less than $20 in which case it will be applied to your next bill.
Hopefully you enjoy your Capital Credit retirement check as a little Christmas bonus and a reminder that you are an owner and direct contributor to the success of Midwest Electric. Have a great – and safe – Christmas season!
*Midwest Electric is an equal opportunity provider and employer.*