The DMEA Board of Directors recently voted to return $1.5 million in profits in the form of capital credits to its 27,000 members, said company spokesman Tom Polikalis, and the details are currently being ironed out.
“Typically those who have been on the system 20 years or more get paid back first,” he said.
Some co-op members will get a credit on their bills this summer, said DMEA General Manager Dan McClendon, while long-time members may receive a check in the mail.
The company “retires” capital credits when the co-op is financially able to do so, Polikalis said. No refunds were distributed last year, he said, part of the reason that customers didn’t see a rate increase.
“This year we have sufficient revenues to pay back, which can be every year or couple of years,” he said. “That not being paid back is still embodied in poles and wires, and other equipment.”
A cooperative does not earn profits in the same sense that other businesses do, according to a DMEA news release. Instead, any revenues remaining after expenses have been paid “are allocated to members who belong to the co-op during the year in which a margin is generated in proportion to their usage of the co-op’s services.”
McClendon noted that the board has “held the line” on rates for residential and small business members for the past two years to help them get through tough economic times.
“This capital credit retirement is another way DMEA is working to help recharge our economy,” he said.
It’s not a huge amount that individuals will get back, Polikalis said, but every little bit helps.
“It’s a small bit of good news, and is not going to drastically change anything,” he said. “But it will either help lower your bill or give you a little extra money you can spend on something else.”