Capital credit checks will be sent out in December to members who were active in 1993, plus some from 1994, as Orcas Power and Light Cooperative continues to smooth its 25-year cycle for capital credit distributions.
Capital credit allocations represent members’ equity in the co-op. Each year, the nonprofit cooperative allocates any margins available at year-end to each member’s account to be paid back in the form of capital credits after 25 years. Every summer, members get a statement in their bill that indicates the number of capital credits accrued under the account, and then the capital credit distributions — actual checks in the mail — are typically made each December, with board approval based on co-op finances.
This year’s capital credit distribution total is about $1,003,000, which includes the remainder of 1993 (some were paid in 2017) and a portion of 1994. This is what the “smoothing” practice is all about. In the next 25 years, the margins that will be basing capital credit distributions on vary widely: from $121,000 to $3.1 million. Anticipating these larger margins, the Board discussed smoothing out capital credit distributions based roughly on a ten-year rolling average. Smoothing helps OPALCO to budget for the cash required to pay capital credits and keeps co-op margins in the members’ hands. Members will continue to get their capital credits at 25 years, but distribution will be calculated based on a general rolling average to balance the spikes in capital credit forecast.
Capital credit checks will be mailed by the end of December to members who were active in 1993 and 1994. The check amounts range from $5 to thousands (for big energy users like grocery stores); most checks are for between $50–$250. Remember to keep OPALCO updated when your address changes so your capital credit distributions can find you! Learn more about capital credits at www.opalco.com/join-opalco/capital-credits/.