ST. MARYS — Many Midwest Electric members will see a lower electric bill around the holidays. This month, the local electric cooperative is returning $2,214,000 in prior year margins to 8,598 current and former members.
Eligible co-op members will receive the refund either as a credit on their electric bill, mailed around Nov. 21, or as a separate check in December. This patronage cash back, also known as capital credits, is the cooperative’s margins, or money left after all bills have been paid.
As a not-for-profit community-focused organization, Midwest Electric uses these margins for investments, such as building or replacing power lines, transformers, and other electric system upgrades to meet members’ evolving needs.
After being used as working capital, the money is returned to members. It represents each co-op member’s ownership — or equity — in his or her cooperative. Patronage cash back is allocated to members in proportion to the dollar amount of electricity used.
This month’s payment will go to those who used Midwest Electric’s service in 2006. A typical residential member from that year will receive a bill credit of about $196.
“This patronage cash back demonstrates that Midwest Electric members are not just customers; they are members and part-owners of their electric cooperative,” said Larry Vandemark, board president. “Midwest Electric belongs to the communities we serve. Members have equity ownership in our physical assets — and receive a financial return on those assets, unlike customers of other utilities.”
Since 1955, Midwest Electric has returned more than $40 million in patronage cash back to its members. The co-op hasn’t had a rate increase since 2010, and over those 12 years, Midwest Electric has invested more than $30 million in electric system reliability upgrades and maintained more than 1,500 miles of line.
For more information about patronage cash back or questions regarding your bill credit, contact Midwest Electric at 1-800-962-3830.
Based in St. Marys, Midwest Electric is the not-for-profit, customer-owned electric cooperative serving over 11,000 homes, farms, and businesses in Allen, Auglaize, Mercer, Van Wert, Shelby, Putnam, and Darke counties. To learn more, visit www.midwestrec.com.