Midwest Electric returns money to customers

ST. MARYS — Midwest Electric members will see a lower electric bill around the holidays.

This month, the local electric cooperative is returning $1,473,997 in excess revenue to 7,487 current and former members. Eligible co-op members will receive the refund either as a credit on their electric bills, 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 2001 and 2002. It represents all of 2002’s margins and the final one-half year of 2001’s margins. A typical residential member from those years will receive a bill credit of about $148.

This excess revenue-sharing demonstrates that Midwest Electric members are not just customers; they are members and part-owners of their electric cooperative, which belongs to the communities it serves. Members have equity ownership in Midwest Electric’s physical assets and receive a financial return on those assets, unlike customers of other utilities.

Since 1955, Midwest Electric has returned nearly $33 million in patronage cash back to its members.

For information, call 800-962-3830.