As a member-owner of Northwestern REC you provide equity for the Cooperative. When you pay your electric bill, any amount paid in excess of the cost and expense of furnishing power creates patronage sourced margins. These margin amounts are not profits like a regular corporation. For a member-owned cooperative, these margin amounts represent each member’s capital contributions (i.e. capital credits) which are used by the cooperative to build utility plant, make improvements and fund capital spending projects.
Member equity (in the form of capital credits) is used to leverage long term loans that finance line construction costs. You can compare it to the down payment required when buying a home. The Cooperative’s members must provide the equity or “down payment” for these loans.
Annually, the Board of Directors determines if the finances of the Cooperative permit a retirement, of previously allocated capital credits and then determines the method and priority of payment.
This year (2020), the cooperative is retiring certain distribution patronage in advance of maturity for 1/4 of 2002 and 1/2 of 2019. We are also retiring generation and transmission patronage for 2019 using the same "time value of money" formula so we can speed up the retirements to the current membership.
Long term members, new members and past members all benefit from this method of retirement by receiving the Capital Credit retirements. Only checks for amounts greater than $5 will be issued. Lesser amounts will be held over until the next retirement. If you move from Northwestern REC’s lines, it is important to advise the office of your new address in order to continue receiving your capital credit checks. Call Northwestern REC at 1-800-352-0014 for information regarding unclaimed capital credits.