Delaware Electric Cooperative’s Board of Directors has voted to return $6.3 million in capital credits to the Cooperative’s member-owners in December. Capital credits are also known as the Co-op’s profits or margins. Because DEC is a not-for-profit utility, margins are returned to the people the Cooperative serves.
To receive a billing credit or check from the Cooperative, you must have been a Delaware Electric Cooperative member in 1999, 2000 or 2001. If a member has eligible capital credits of $100 or higher, they will receive a check. If their allocated capital credits amount is less than $100, a member will receive a credit on their bill. Members who had an active account in 1999, 2000 or 2001, but are no longer served by DEC, will also receive a check for their portion of the retired capital credits.
According to Bill Andrew, President and CEO of DEC, “This process is what sets us apart from other utilities. We’re not in business to make a profit for shareholders; we work to offer the greatest value to our Co-op members. If there is leftover money, we give it back to our members. We return the money around the holidays because that’s when many people need it the most.”
Over the past five years the Cooperative has returned more than $24 million to members. Anyone with questions about their capital credit refund should call the Cooperative at 855-332-9090.
While this is awesome news if the Cooperative served you in 1999, 2000 or 2001, you may be asking yourself, what about members who joined the Co-op after that?
The answer is—don’t worry! You’ll eventually receive capital credits too, but it may take a few years.
Here’s why: Delaware Electric Cooperative was founded in 1936 by a group of farmers in southern Delaware. The for-profit utilities at the time refused to invest the money to bring the life-changing benefits of electricity to rural parts of the State. The farmers pooled their money together and began building power lines and substations.
Many years later, the founders of the Cooperative received a refund for their investment, called a capital credit. This, they saw, as a return on their investment. That same philosophy still applies to the return of capital credits today.
Remember, we are a not-for-profit utility. So each month you pay your bill, you are helping to finance not just the purchase and production of power, but improvements to the system that keeps the lights on. You are investing in YOUR Cooperative. Your immediate payback is in the form of increased reliability and the lowest rates in the State.
After about 15 years, you begin seeing an even greater return on your investment in the form of either a yearly billing credit or a check from your Cooperative. You don’t receive a refund the first few years you are a member because that wouldn’t be fair to the older members who have paid for the current system.
Each generation of Cooperative members contributes, builds equity in the Co-op and then is rewarded with a capital credit refund. This system is unique to electric cooperatives. People served by for-profit utilities don’t reap these benefits.
By the way, even if you have moved away from Delaware or the Cooperative lines, you are still eligible to receive your capital credits. Give us a call if you have questions about any of this. We can be reached at 855-332-9090.