Just in time for the holiday season, SECO Energy’s Board of Trustees approved a Capital Credits return (retirement) of $3.5 million to current and former members. Since SECO Energy was founded in 1938 as Sumter Electric Cooperative, Inc., the cooperative has retired more than $66.8 million to current and former members.
SECO Energy is a not-for-profit electric utility. As such, SECO’s almost 210,000 members own a portion of the cooperative’s equity and their energy purchases build patronage capital. Ownership is defined through the annual process of allocating each member’s share of the co-op’s margins from the prior year. The annual amounts for each member who purchases electric service during the year are referred to as Capital Credit allocations.
Capital Credits are the accumulation of all prior year’s revenue after the co-op’s operating costs and expenses are paid. These credits are allocated on a pro-rata basis to each SECO Energy member’s account as Capital Credits. Annually, SECO examines the financial position of the cooperative and makes a recommendation to the Board of Trustees on the “retirement” of Capital Credits.
CEO Jim Duncan stated, “This year’s Capital Credits retirement of $3.5 million means that a portion of the cooperative’s equity is being returned to current and former members. Each current member who receives a 2019 Capital Credits retirement will see the retirement amount on the November billing statement listed as a line item. Commercial members with retirements over $1,000 will receive a check.”
Current members will find their retirement on the November billing statement a on line item labeled “Gen. Ret. Credit.” Former members receiving a retirement will be mailed a check. Former members should update their current address with the cooperative to receive future Capital Credits returns.
This year’s $3.5 million Capital Credits retirement is a lower number than in years past. The cost of delivering power to new members, constructing new facilities to meet new members’ demand for power and maintaining existing infrastructure is rising faster than SECO’s revenues.