Capital Credits: It Pays to be a Co-op Member
Polk-Burnett returns $820,000 in Capital Credits in September 2016 to active and former members who purchased electricity in 1993-94 and/or 2013.
The amount of each refund is based on how much electricity was purchased by the individual member during those years.
Active members with Capital Credit amounts of $20 or more will be mailed a check in September. A bill credit will be applied for amounts less than $20. Former members will be mailed a check of $10 or more; lesser amounts will be left to accrue for future payouts.
"As a not-for-profit electric cooperative, Polk-Burnett operates at cost," said General Manager Steve Stroshane. "Any money left after annual expenses is allocated and returned to members, according to cooperative business principles." Capital Credits are allocated and distributed annually, and are a direct benefit of cooperative membership.
Other investor-owned utilities return a portion of their profits as dividends to stockholders, electric cooperatives allocate excess revenue back to the members they serve as Capital Credits, according to cooperative business principles.
- When members apply to receive electric service from Polk-Burnett they become a member-owner.
- Electric rates are set to cover the cost of doing business.
- At the end of each calendar year expenses are subtracted from income and the difference is called a margin.
- Margins are retained to keep the cooperative financially sound and reinvested for a number of years to pay for long-term projects, such as replacing or building electric lines.
- Capital Credits equal to those margins are allocated into a Capital Credit account for each cooperative member, based upon their use of electricity during the year, for eventual payment.
- Each year your board of directors determines the amount of Capital Credits to retire, or pay, to member-owners.
- Polk-Burnett notifies you of how and when you'll receive your capital credit retirements.
Why is my neighbor's Capital Credit a larger (or smaller) amount?
Capital Credits are based on your total payments to the cooperative for kilowatt-hours of energy purchased, including the fixed charges. If you receive a smaller credit than your neighbor, it's because you used and paid for less electricity during the period in which the capital credit allocation was earned.
Why aren't I getting a Capital Credit distribution?
The Capital Credit distribution cycle is determined by the board of directors. Even if you don't receive a return this year, you will earn a Capital Credit allocation for all years that you are a Polk-Burnett member. Once you're eligible for a distribution on those allocations, you'll receive them even if you're no longer receiving electric service from Polk-Burnett, so it is important to make sure Polk-Burnett always has your current mailing address.
What if I'm no longer an active co-op member?
A check will be mailed to you if we have your current mailing address. The minimum distribution to inactive members is $10. Distributions that do not meet the minimum will be held on inactive electric accounts and distributed by check when the retired amount meets the $10 minimum.
What happens to unclaimed Capital Credits?
Polk-Burnett was required to give unclaimed Capital Credits to the State of Wisconsin prior to 1987. Now we can use these unclaimed funds for education and we are proud to offer continuing education scholarships to the children of our members. Polk-Burnett's scholarship program is based on community service and recognizes graduating seniors who make a difference in the lives of others. Read more about Polk-Burnett's Community Service Scholarship Program.