$2.7 million returned to schools, businesses and residents in the past 3 years
For immediate release:
1:00 PM – Friday, August 24, 2018
A record number of 18,852 checks will be mailed out to San Isabel Electric Members on Tuesday, September 6 returning $ 956,000 in capital credits to the Membership. Checks range from $10 to hundreds of dollars for residents, school districts, businesses, and a few larger businesses and governments receiving several thousand dollars.
Some people who buy electricity from San Isabel Electric may not realize that they are Member-owners of San Isabel Electric, not utility customers. Being a Member-owner comes with some great perks, like capital credits.
“Capital credits are just one part of the cooperative difference. Around here, there is more to trust than making sure your lights come on when you flip the switch. Our mission is to improve the quality of life of our Membership by providing affordable, reliable power with the highest quality of service. We’re focused on your street, not Wall Street,” San Isabel Electric General Manager Reg Rudolph said.
San Isabel Electric member-owners haven’t seen a rate increase since 2014 because of efficient operating practices.
Most utilities pocket left over money as profit when revenues are more than expenses. San Isabel Electric sets aside that money for Member-owners as capital credit, based on the amount of energy each Member purchases. When it’s financially safe to do so, we retire or return the money to Members. Members receive their share as a check right in their mailbox.
This year, members from 1989 and 2017 will receive capital credits checks in the mail, reflecting their ownership of the cooperative during those years.
Capital credits is money back, based on how much electricity is purchased. San Isabel Electric operates at cost, making just enough money to run and expand the business. That money is used to cover expenses to keep the electricity flowing – expenses like poles, wires trucks and staff. During those 28 years, San Isabel Electric saved part of what was paid by members to cover emergency expenses and to build and maintain a reliable electric delivery system.
At the end of each calendar year, we subtract operating expenses from the total amount of money collected during the year to determine the margin to allocate to the Members. Every year, allocation statements are sent out letting Members know the dollar amount of their share of what the co-op saved. 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 refunds the money to member-owners.
In 2017, San Isabel Electric refunded $ 900,000 and in 2016, the co-op refunded another $ 900,000 in capital credits. Combined with 2018, that’s $ 2.7 million in capital credits returned to the Membership in the past three years.
Members are encouraged to leave forwarding addresses with San Isabel Electric should they move off the system. In the case of a member’s death, a representative of the estate should contact San Isabel Electric to determine the status of the member’s capital credit checks, both now and in the future.
Refunding capital credits follows one of the seven cooperative principles – Members’ Economic Participation. This principle states: “Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing the cooperative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.”
The other six cooperative principles are Voluntary open membership, Democratic member control, Cooperation among cooperatives, Autonomy and independence, Concern for the community and Education training and information.
In 2018, San Isabel Electric will celebrate 80 years of keeping the lights on in Southern Colorado. San Isabel Electric was founded in 1938 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 profits involved because of the small number of meters per mile. 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. Currently, San Isabel Electric serves more than 20,000 members in portions of seven counties, including Custer, Costilla, Fremont, Huerfano, Las Animas, Otero and Pueblo counties.