Checks or bill credits are coming in May to members of Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation, thanks to a $4.6 million capital credits retirement approved by the Board of Directors.
Checks mail May 6 to members who are due a capital credits refund of $35 or more. Members due less than $35 are receiving their capital credits refunds in the form of a credit on their May electric bill. The amount of each refund is based on that member’s individual usage of electricity.
The average check amount is $106 and more than 23,000 members will receive checks, while nearly 9,000 former members will be receiving refund checks. More than 33,000 members will receiving credits on their May electric bills, with the average credit amount being $15.
For members who responded to the opportunity earlier this year to donate all or a portion of their capital credits refund to Operation Round Up® (ORU), they will be receiving refunds based on their requested donation to ORU. A total of $30,000 was pledged and, as usual with ORU donations, every penny will go directly to help other members in need. “On behalf of the cooperative, I want to express a heartfelt thank you to everyone who responded and to all of our generous members who donate to Operation Round Up,” said Chief Executive Officer of Blue Ridge Electric, Doug Johnson. “By joining together, we’re able to help local members with crisis heating assistance and other quality of life improvement initiatives that are so important to building our communities.”
Blue Ridge Electric members received notification about capital credits in their member newsletter inside the May issue of Carolina Country magazine that mailed April 24.
While it may sound like a complex term, capital credits are simply a unique benefit for members of a cooperative. Each member is also an owner of Blue Ridge Electric, and that ownership is represented by capital credits. As a cooperative business, Blue Ridge Electric doesn’t earn profits. Instead, any revenues remaining after all expenses have been paid each year are considered “margins” that are returned to the members after being used for a period of years as capital to help finance major long-term reliability projects including substations and power lines and poles. This helps offset the need to borrow funds, thereby helping keep your electricity rates lower.
Capital credits are a continuous cycle: the cooperative collects for current needs to deliver reliable electricity while returning funds collected in previous years.
Each year, the Board of Directors decides on a capital credits retirement based on the financial health of the cooperative.
Since its inception, Blue Ridge Electric has returned more than $46 million back to its members in annual capital credits retirements.
Blue Ridge Electric is a member owned electric cooperative serving some 74,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, and Alleghany counties as well as parts of Wilkes, Avery, and Alexander counties.