Capital Credit Refunds Exceed $5 Million

Capital credit checks to be mailed in early August


General Manager/CEO Dan L. Brown announces Cuivre River Electric Cooperative will refund a record $5.05 million in member equity this year.


The refunds include a portion of the cooperative's 2015 and 1993 margins, also called "capital credits," and will be distributed next month.


Refunds will include 28% of members' equity from 2015 and the remaining equity from 1993 (portions were refunded in 1994 and 2015).


Manager of Finance and Accounting Susan Dollins reports the average check amount for members who had service during 2015 is $42. The average amount for members who had service in both 2015 and 1993 is $124. "For long-term members, the refund amount equals almost one month of free electricity," says Dollins.


The majority of current members will receive a check, to be mailed the first week of August.  Exceptions: members with refunds of less than $15 or with a 30-day past-due balance. These refunds will be posted as energy bill credits.


Prior to being refunded this member capital has been used in place of commercial loans to construct the Cooperative's physical plant. Using member capital holds down interest expenses that would otherwise be borne by members.


This decision to issue refunds and the amount that can be refunded is determined by the Cuivre River Board of Directors on a year-by-year basis, as financial circumstances permit. Directors' commitment to the refund process is in keeping with the cooperative's long-standing tradition to acknowledge members' ownership interest by refunding a portion of their equity investment.


Capital credits and member control make cooperatives very different from most Missouri utilities. The cooperative is accountable to, owned and governed by the people it serves.


Things you should know:


  1. Your capital credits are reserved for you even if you discontinue Cuivre River service. Cuivre River will attempt to reach you when refunds are made if a current address is on file.
  2. Checks will expire after six months. Checks returned by mail are held while they remain valid. After six months they are applied as bill credits to their respective active accounts. By request, they may also be donated to Operation Round Up to help families in need.
  3. To claim a check returned to us in the mail, you must provide valid identification.
  4. In accordance with Cuivre River Bylaws, if your check is unclaimed after two years, your name is published in two consecutive issues of a local newspaper in the county where you last received Cuivre River service. Checks unclaimed after 60 days of this publication requirement are assigned to the Cooperative.
  5. If you call to establish new service in the future, tell us if you've previously been a Cuivre River member to help us keep past and current records up to date.


Questions? Check the FAQs on the next page, or call Kristen Turgeon or Roman Schuette at (800) 392-3709, ext. 4384.

QWhat are Capital Credits?
ACapital credits represent members' ownership equity in Cuivre River. Credits are allocated after the close of the fiscal year, if funds remain after all expenses for providing electric services have been met. The value of each member's equity is based on the quantity and cost of kilowatt-hours (kwhs) purchased. Prior to refunding member capital, Cuivre River uses it in place of commercial loans to construct the Cooperative's physical plant (poles, wires, transformers, etc.). This holds down interest expenses that would otherwise be borne by members. Cuivre River's tradition to refund capital credits began in 1976 when refunds were authorized for the first time. Cuivre River has since established one of the most aggressive equity refund programs among Missouri's 40 electric cooperatives, and has returned more than $74 million to members and former members.
QIs the money in the bank until it's refunded?
AWhen capital credits are refunded, member capital — money which is essentially borrowed from members — is replaced with money borrowed from other sources. It's not in the bank; it's invested in the infrastructure that provides your service. When your Directors authorize capital refunds, they underscore a key difference between cooperatives and other types of businesses. As a member you own the cooperative; the equity belongs to you. Your economic participation is a core cooperative principle
QWill there always be refunds?
ANo refunds were made during the early years of our history, when no capital remained at the end of the year. Some years the Cooperative may not be in the financial position to refund capital.
QWhy give refunds instead of reducing rates?

Rate increases may be unavoidable, regardless of capital credit refunds. Your cooperative focuses on maintaining stable rates that are adequate to meet expenses. Wholesale costs account for nearly 70% of those expenses, and the lion's share of your electric bill.

As each year begins we anticipate as best we can what wholesale costs may be, based on projected energy demand and use. Both can fluctuate widely with the economy and the weather. Our member equity level, interest rates and cash flow are key criteria in determining if issuing refunds is a financially responsible decision.