Two programs redistribute millions to members
Wiregrass Electric Cooperative (WEC) strives every day to ensure electrical service remains affordable, and those efforts have resulted in two programs that directly benefit its members’ pocketbooks.
Both the capital credits and power cost adjustment programs have returned millions of dollars to WEC members in the past decade, and they do so in different ways. WEC sets aside capital credits for members when the cooperative, which is a not-for-profit organization, takes in more revenue than it pays out in expenditures. WEC also awards power cost adjustments when the wholesale costs to purchase power from a distributor are lower than budgeted amounts.
“We endeavor daily to make our operations as efficient as possible for our members, who have entrusted their money to us,” says Lisa LeNoir, WEC chief financial officer. “We smile when we have the opportunity to invest in the people who have invested in us.”
Capital credits are returned to members when the cooperative’s board of trustees determines that distributing the money will not impair operations. This often takes between 20 and 25 years to manifest. In 2019, the board retired 1997’s capital credits, resulting in almost $1.1 million returning to members who had accounts in that year.
Recently the board retired another $1.9 million in capital credits. WEC will return those as bill credits to current members, while former members will receive checks. During the history of the cooperative, the board has retired more than $14 million in capital credits.
All members can receive a power cost adjustment when power costs are lower than expected. When power costs are lower than budgeted, WEC issues a credit through the PCA section of a member’s bill. The credit will be based on the amount of power a member has used.
Since the PCA program began in 2010, WEC has returned more than $10 million to its members.
“Our members are wonderful and generous people, and we are honored to give back capital credits to them,” LeNoir says. “They are our reason we exist, and they inspire us to work diligently.