Co-ops Work for Members
Download our illustrated guide to Capital Credits.
What are Capital Credits?
SMECO belongs to its customer-members.
- As owners, customers have a responsibility to help finance their business
- They do this by using our services and by allowing the Co-op to retain any money collected in excess of actual operating costs
Where Does the Money Go?
- The money is used to build and maintain the facilities needed to serve the Co-op’s members and to service our long-term debt
- This money is considered to be capital furnished by the members—capital that will be returned to the members at a later date
Capital Credit Refunds
- SMECO’s Board of Directors regularly evaluates the financial condition of the Co-op to determine when members will receive a capital credit general refund
- When SMECO issues a general refund, eligible active members receive a credit on their primary bill
- Eligible former members receive a check; and, if the balance in their capital credit account is $100 or less, they receive a full refund
- Special refunds are paid throughout the year to estates of deceased members
Who are Eligible Members?
SMECO customers who had an active SMECO account during all or part of the year for which we allocated margins (profits) to members’ capital credit accounts are eligible
Keep Your Information Updated
- Because you may receive capital credits in the future, it is imperative that you keep SMECO informed of your new address whenever you move
- Even when you discontinue service with SMECO, we ask you to give the Co-op a current mailing address and notify SMECO of any subsequent address changes so that capital credit refunds can continue to be sent to you
- Fill out our Change of Address Form
Name a Beneficiary
You can name a beneficiary to receive your capital credits upon your death by filling out our Capital Credit Beneficiary Designation Form.
- SMECO needs to be notified by a relative or other legal representative when a customer of record is deceased so that the account can be put in another person’s name or closed
- SMECO will refund the deceased customer’s capital credits to the customer’s estate in a lump sum discounted payment if the account was listed solely in the customer’s name and is closed
- For an estate to receive a refund, a relative or representative must provide SMECO with a Letter of Administration that designates a legal representative of the estate
- To request a deceased member’s unclaimed capital credit refunds, fill out the Capital Credits Refund Request Form (PDF) or the online Beneficiary Request Form
Customers do not receive lump-sum refund checks upon discontinuing service with SMECO.
Questions About Your Capital Credits
If you have any questions concerning your capital credits, contact us by calling (888) 440-3311, extension 4227, or email SMECO Capital Credits.
- Check out the Maryland Online Unclaimed Property Search
Capital Credit FAQs
No, the check you received belongs to the previous SMECO customer who had service at that address. Please write “Return to Sender” on the outside of the envelope and drop the check back in the US Mail. If you currently have SMECO service in your name, you may see a Capital Credit Refund shown in the Bill Summary section on your SMECO bill.
No, the check you received belongs to the payee on the check and state law requires that we can only reissue the check payable to their estate. Please follow these instructions.
If you have an estate account for the customer, please attempt to deposit the check
If you cannot deposit the check, return the check to SMECO for reissue and include both of the following:
- An original Letter of Administration for the customer issued in the last 12 months
- An original Death Certificate for the customer. Mail the check to SMECO, Attn: Capital Credits, PO Box 1937, Hughesville, MD 20637
We will reissue the check payable to the customer’s estate
After 3 years, payments to vendors or donations to local organizations are paid to the State of Maryland. The state then reports the funds on their Unclaimed Property Listing. Once the funds are turned over to the state, the appropriate party must file a claim with the state of Maryland to obtain the funds. Unclaimed Capital Credits are retained by SMECO and become part of the cooperative’s permanent equity.
Capital Credit Beneficiary FAQs
Capital credits are accumulated based on the customer-member’s electric usage and the amount they paid for electricity during the time they had SMECO electric service in their name. Each member’s capital credit balance is unique and the final refund amount is determined by their capital credit balance. Some members accumulate more capital credits than others because they use more electricity or had service for a longer time.
The capital credits for the deceased member cannot be transferred to an active account.
Each SMECO member has just one capital credit account even though they may have had multiple electric accounts.
The ownership of the property has no bearing on capital credits, and it does not matter who actually paid the SMECO bills. The capital credits belong to the person whose name was on the SMECO electric account.
When someone notifies SMECO that the member is deceased, SMECO will mail a letter to the beneficiary explaining how to claim the capital credit funds. The beneficiary will be required to provide a death certificate and a copy of the front and back of a government-issued photo ID. Fill out the Beneficiary Request Form to claim the funds.
The actual amount to be distributed will be calculated at the time the beneficiary submits a claim for the capital credit funds. At the end of each year, SMECO allocates funds to members, so capital credits accumulate from year to year. When capital credits are disbursed in a lump sum payment, they are discounted based on the year the funds were allocated.
No, beneficiaries aren’t financially liable for your outstanding payments.
Yes, you can submit a new form to identify a different beneficiary. A new form will supersede any previous forms.
We only need one form per member (not per electric account).
Lump sum payments are not issued to the surviving member of a joint account. If two members (married or not married) have a joint account and one member passes away, the capital credit funds will remain in the surviving member's capital credit account. The surviving member will receive capital credits when general refunds are distributed. The surviving member can name a beneficiary when he/she is the sole account holder.
Commercial accounts, charitable organizations, trusts, or businesses cannot name a beneficiary, and they cannot be designated as a beneficiary.