General Refund Totals $3 million
SMECO is refunding members’ capital credits totaling nearly $5.6 million. Of that total, a general refund of approximately $3 million will be issued in July. Eligible active members will receive credits on their bills, and checks will be issued to eligible former members. Special refunds of about $2.6 million will be paid throughout the year to include estates of deceased members.
“Passing on savings to members is a basic co-op principle and we are happy to issue capital credit refunds to SMECO members when our financial obligations have been met,” said Sonja M. Cox, SMECO president and CEO. She added, “Cooperatives represent a unique business model because they are not-for-profit companies owned by the customers receiving electricity—their members. Every time SMECO members pay their electric bills, they are investing in the cooperative, and we use that investment to improve reliability and service.”
SMECO’s margins for 2022 totaled more than $12.7 million. SMECO uses margins—revenue minus expenses—as working capital for new construction, system improvements, and facility upgrades. Cox explained, “Our members help to finance SMECO’s operations, and they realize one of the benefits of being a co-op member when they receive a refund.” SMECO’s margins are based on the cooperative’s revenue and expenses, not the cost of energy. SMECO makes no profit on energy costs, and energy rates have no impact on SMECO’s margins.
At the end of each year, SMECO’s margins are allocated to a special account for each member, based on how much electricity the member purchased and the rate at which the account was billed. SMECO’s Board of Directors regularly evaluates the financial condition of the cooperative and determines when SMECO members’ capital credits will be refunded. Refunds will be credited to members’ bills beginning July 10 and checks will be mailed to eligible former members beginning July 17.
All eligible active members will receive a credit on the bill for their primary account. If members wish to contact SMECO to designate their primary account, they may call 1-888-440-3311. Eligible former members will receive a full refund of the balance in their capital credit account if the balance is $100 or less. Whenever SMECO members move out of the cooperative’s service area, they should contact SMECO to update their mailing address in order to receive refund checks in the future.