Midwest Electric returns another million to members

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

This month, the local electric cooperative is returning $1,035,712 in excess revenue to 7,427 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 co-op members’ ownership – or equity – in their 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 2003. A typical residential member from that year will receive a bill credit of about $102. Midwest Electric also returned $1 million in patronage cash back in March of this year, totaling $2.035 million total paid back to members in 2019 – the largest return in the co-op’s history.

“This excess revenue sharing demonstrates that Midwest Electric members are not just customers; they are members and part-owners of their electric cooperative,” Larry Vandemark, board president, said. “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 $35 million in patronage cash back to its members.

For more information about patronage cash back or questions regarding a 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 11,000 homes, farms and businesses in Allen, Auglaize, Mercer, Van Wert, Shelby, Putnam and Darke counties. To learn more, visit www.midwestrec.com.