Retirement of $5.5 Million on its way to Members Beginning in May
United Power is more than your local electric utility and you are more than a consumer. Over the past year, we’ve had to weather the COVID-19 pandemic together, making provisions for the health of the cooperative and also to support our members. From establishing a relief fund for struggling members to temporarily suspending disconnects, you are at the center of who we are and what we do. The decisions we made weren’t to satisfy invisible investors or salvage profits, but to serve both our members and our communities as they navigated difficult circumstances. It’s just part of what makes cooperative membership different.
Another member benefit that sets us apart is the retirement of capital credits. This year, our members will be part of United Power’s 15th consecutive retirement. If you are new to the cooperative or unfamiliar with capital credits, these represent your investment in the co-op. Here’s how it works:
Becoming a Member
The moment you activate electric service from United Power, you become a member and an owner in the cooperative. As a member, you have unique privileges, one of which is the principle of economic participation. A portion of each electric bill goes toward the cooperative’s operation and infrastructure, which you have an ownership stake in.
Members may also vote annually in board elections or run for a seat on the board to make their voices heard. (A full recap of the 2021 Annual Meeting is available on page 10.) By actively engaging and participating with the cooperative, you will always have a voice in our operation.
Allocation of Patronage Capital
Every spring, United Power looks at the prior year and any funds remaining after all expenses are paid are allocated to members based on the prior year’s electric consumption – the more power you use, the larger your allocation.
The allocation is not a check, but a representation of your ownership in the cooperative, i.e. the amount of money you have invested into the electric system based on your electric consumption. The funds are tracked, but not accessible in the form of cash. You are notified of your allocation amount on your bill in May or June each year.
Retirement of Capital Credits
Each year, the Board of Directors carefully assesses the financial condition of the cooperative and determines what amount of capital credits to retire. If the Board decides a retirement is feasible, the money is paid out, or “retired,” from each member’s account. This year, the Board approved a $5.5 million retirement. Those retirements will be distributed beginning in late May or early June.
Anyone who had service in 2020 or earlier will be eligible to receive a refund. Members who receive a refund less than $50 will see it reflected on their billing statement as a credit, and refunds more than $50 will arrive as a check. Look for this credit on your bill in May or June.
“There is not a more tangible benefit of cooperative membership than receiving money back on your investment in the utility itself,” said Mark A. Gabriel, United Power’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Your investment not only makes you an owner, but helps ensure the resiliency of our system, the reliability of your power and the affordability of our rates. It is a tangible representation of your value as both a member and an owner.”
Capital credit retirements have returned a steady stream of money back to members in recent years. During the past 15 years, the cooperative has been able to retire millions of dollars back to its members.
Want to learn more? Frequently asked questions about capital credits can be found on cooperative's Capital Credits page or you can call a member services representative at 303-637-1300.
- If you move, please be sure to leave your new address with us so we can continue to refund any capital credits you are eligible to receive in the future.
- Upon death, the deceased member’s capital credit account is available for estate retirement. The representative of the estate should contact United Power to settle the capital credit account.