Lenoir, North Carolina (May 3, 2016) – Checks or bill credits are coming in May to members of Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation, thanks to a nearly $4.8 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 $108 and more than 21,000 active members will receive checks, while over 86,000 former members will be receiving refund checks. More than 34,000 members will receive credits on their May electric bills, with the average credit amount being $15.
For members who requested to donate all or a portion of their capital credits refund to Operation Round Up® (ORU), they will receive refunds based on their requested donation to ORU. Approximately $40,000 has been pledged and, as usual with ORU donations, every penny will go directly to help fellow members in need.
Notification about the capital credits retirement was sent to Blue Ridge Electric members in their member newsletter inside the May issue of Carolina Country magazine that mailed April 25.
While it may sound like a complex term, capital credits are simply a 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” which are allocated to members. After being used for a period of years as operating capital for power lines, substations, and other electric system assets to ensure reliable electricity, these funds are returned to members. This helps reduce the need for loans, which helps keep electric rates lower.
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 $51 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.