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For immediate release:
12:00 p.m. – Tuesday, April 14, 2020

San Isabel Electric members won’t have to wait until the end of the year for the co-op to mail their capital credits retirement checks. Checks are being sent mid-April, due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Our board members and most of our employees are your neighbors, your friends and maybe even family members. Our neighbors, friends and families need some extra cash right now. It’s not a lot, but it’s the right thing to do in these times,” San Isabel Electric General Manager Reg Rudolph said.

More than 19,000 checks are being mailed to those who were members in 2019, totaling $591,000. Ninety-four percent of the checks range from $10 to $99.

There may be another capital credits retirement in the fall, as usual. The Board of Directors will make that determination in the fall. The retirement checks being sent now, is simply a partial retirement of the money that would normally be returned the money in the fall.

The co-op is also trying to return unclaimed capital credit. Every April, a list of names of member-owners who have at least $10 in unclaimed capital credit, that the co-op has been trying to return, is posted at siea.com/capital credits and in the April edition of Colorado Country Life magazine. Members who find their names on the list, should call 800-279-SIEA and ask for the capital credits department to prove their identity and update their contact information to claim their unclaimed capital credit.

What are capital credits?
Unlike investor-owned utilities, electric cooperatives operate at cost, making just enough money to run and expand the business. Money paid to the co-op by members is used to cover expenses to keep the electricity flowing – expenses like poles, wires trucks and staff.

Most utilities pocket margins as profit when revenues are more than expenses. Electric cooperatives set aside that money for members as capital credit, based on the amount of energy each member purchases.

At the end of each calendar year, operating expenses are subtracted from the total amount of money collected during the year. Any remaining revenue is allocated to members. The co-op does not immediately distribute the full amount of allocated capital credits to keep rates low and to plan for unforeseen changes that could affect rates or the strength of the company.

When it’s safe to do so, San Isabel Electric’s board retires a portion of the retained capital credits and returns the money to member-owners. Members receive their share as a check right in their mailbox.

In the last five years, San Isabel Electric has returned more than $8.4 million in capital credits to schools, businesses, and residents. In 2019 alone, San Isabel Electric returned more than $4.7 million in cash to nearly more than 17,000 members

In 2018, San Isabel Electric celebrated its 80th year of keeping the lights on in southern Colorado. San Isabel Electric was founded in 1938 by a small group of rural neighbors in Beulah, Colorado after investor-owned utilities declined to service the then-rural area due to the high costs and low margins involved because of the small number of meters per mile.

Because of efficient operating practices, San Isabel Electric members have had more than a decade of rate stability, with only one rate change in 2014.

Since its inception, the cooperative has been governed and operated by its members, the people who use the power the cooperative provides. A board of directors elected by members at an annual meeting makes all decisions on rates, company policies, and power plans for the future.

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As a not-for-profit cooperative utility, San Isabel Electric provides affordable, reliable electricity with exceptional service to communities in seven southern Colorado counties. Serving nearly 20,000 member-owners and 24,000 meters, San Isabel Electric has been keeping the lights on since 1938. We don’t just serve communities. We are part of communities.