*Scroll to bottom for details on the December 2020 capital credits retirement*
North Western Electric Cooperative Inc (NWEC), is a not-for-profit organization. Owned and operated by its member-consumers, the money to cover day-to-day operating costs of the cooperative comes directly from the members paying their monthly electric bills. At the end of the year, NWEC subtracts operating expenses from the amount of money collected and the remaining balance is called the margin. The margins left over at the end of the year are allocated, or assigned, to your capital credit account based on individual patronage (the number of kilowatt hours you purchased from NWEC each year).
Your capital credits account, similar to a bank account, is the accumulation of margins that have been allocated to you each year based on your patronage. At the end of each year, the cooperative deposits your allocated patronage into your capital credit account. Each year, the board of trustees retires 20% of the previous year's capital credits. They may also retire any additional amounts based upon the financial stability of the cooperative. The board of trustees was delegated this responsibility in the cooperative's code of regulations.
Active Members - When the board retires capital credits, the cooperative will apply a credit to the bill of your main account.
Previous Members - If you have moved out of NWEC's territory, we will mail a check to you for any eligible retirement, so it is extremely important that we have your current mailing address on file. Inactive members will receive a check if the retired amount is over $5.
Capital Credits Estates
The capital credits of a deceased member are payable without waiting for a general retirement, however that payment is not automatic. A representative of the estate of the deceased member must contact NWEC to request forms which must be submitted along with a copy of the death certificate. A check for the full amount held in the deceased member's capital credit account is then issued to the estate.
NEWS RELEASE, sent 12-7-2020:
$725,000 coming back to NWEC member-owners this month for holidays
Many North Western Electric Cooperative (NWEC) member-owners will see a lower electric bill around the holidays. This month, the local electric cooperative is returning $725,000 in capital credits to current and former member-owners. Eligible co-op member-owners will receive the refund as a credit on their electric bill or as a separate check in December. These capital credits represent the cooperative’s margins, or money left over after all bills have been paid.
As a not-for-profit community-focused organization, NWEC uses these margins for investments, such as building or replacing power lines, transformers, and other electric system upgrades to meet member-owners’ evolving needs. This helps keep the co-op’s service reliable.
After being used as working capital, the money is returned to member-owners. It represents each co-op member’s ownership — or equity — in his or her cooperative. Capital credits are allocated to member-owners in proportion to the dollar amount of electricity used. Then, usually on bills due in December, some of those allocations are distributed back to the member-owners in what NWEC calls a retirement.
“We return the money to member-owners around the holidays because that’s when many people need it the most – especially this year with many member-owners struggling due to COVID-19,” says NWEC President/CEO Darin Thorp.
This month, eligible member-owners’ bills should show a credit for 20% of their allocation from 2019 (allocation notices were included on bills for March use), along with any unretired capital credits from 2000. If you were a member-owners during either or both of those years, you get a return on your ownership. If you are no longer a member-owner now, NWEC will send a check to your last known address.
“Returning capital credits demonstrates that NWEC member-owners are not just customers; they are members and part-owners of their electric cooperative, which belongs to the communities it serves,” Thorp says. “They have equity ownership in NWEC’s physical assets — and receive a financial return on those assets, unlike customers of other utilities.”
For more information about capital credits, contact NWEC at 1-800-647-6932.
Unclaimed Capital Credits List
Once a member moves off our lines, their retirement funds will be issued in the form of a check. The checks are sent to the last known address; however, there are cases where the check is returned to us for various reasons. Heirs of deceased individuals may claim the money through proper application to the cooperative. If you know the whereabouts, address or a relative of anyone on the listing linked below, please contact the office.