Special Report to Blowing Rock News from Blue Ridge Energy. April 28, 2017. LENOIR, NC – Checks or bill credits are coming in May to electric cooperative members of Blue Ridge Energy, thanks to a nearly $5 million capital credits retirement approved by the Board of Directors.
Checks mail May 5 to members who are due a capital credits refund of $35 or more. Members due less than $35 are receiving their capital credits refunds in the form of a credit on their May electric account. The amount of each refund is based on that member’s individual usage of electricity.
The average check amount for some 20,000 active members receiving checks is $108. Another 36,000 members will receive credits on their May electric accounts, with the average amount being $15. Additionally, over 46,000 former members will receive refund checks.
For members who requested to donate all or a portion of their capital credits refund to Operation Round Up<sup>®</sup> (ORU), they will receive refunds based on their requested donation to ORU. Approximately $40,000 has been pledged this year and, as normal with ORU donations, every penny will go directly to help fellow members in need.
Notification about the capital credits retirement also appears in the May member newsletter which mails April 24 and is inside Carolina Country magazine.
While it may sound like a complex term, capital credits are simply a benefit for members of a cooperative. Each member is also an owner of their cooperative, and that ownership is represented by capital credits. As a cooperative business, Blue Ridge doesn’t earn profits. Instead, any revenues remaining after all expenses have been paid each year are considered margins which are allocated to members. After being used for a period of years as operating capital for power lines, substations, and other electric system assets to ensure reliable electricity, these funds are returned to members. This process helps reduce the need for loans, which helps keep electric rates lower.
Each year, the cooperative’s Board of Directors decides on a capital credits retirement based on the financial health of the cooperative. Since its inception as an electric cooperative, Blue Ridge Energy has returned more than $57 million back to its members in annual capital credits retirements.
<em>Blue Ridge Energy is a member owned electric cooperative serving some 74,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, and Alleghany counties as well as parts of Wilkes, Avery, and Alexander counties. It also includes a propane heating fuels subsidiary and business-to-business telecommunications subsidiary</em>