MONROE, Ga. — When most Walton Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) customer-owners open their December bill, they’ll get something customers of other types of electric utilities don’t: a capital credit refund.
The cooperative’s board of directors recently voted to return $6,335,000 in capital credits during 2016. Approximately 121,500 customer-owners who had accounts in 1990 and/or 2015 are included, meaning more than 95 percent of current customer-owners will get a refund.
“Showing a profit is self-defeating in the cooperative business model,” said CEO Ronnie Lee. “Walton EMC is owned by the same people who receive its services. That’s why we return leftover revenues.”
The individual amount returned to customer-owners is based on their electric bills or, in other words, the amount of business they did with the company.
After paying off debt and establishing a reserve for unexpected events (like a catastrophic ice storm), the board determines if it’s financially prudent to issue a refund. If so, most refunds are distributed by a credit on electric bills. This saves the cooperative and its customer-owners tens of thousands of dollars in check printing and postage costs.
Walton EMC provides electric service to 125,000 residential and business accounts in a 10-county area between Atlanta and Athens. Because its customers own the company, service — not profit — is Walton EMC’s primary focus.
2016 Refund Facts
-Amount — $6,335,000
-Total capital credits returned to date — $87,571,000
-Years refunded in current disbursement — 1990, 2015
-Number of refunds — approximately 121,500
-Issued by bill credit, unless the amount is $500 or more. All refunds of $500 or more will be issued by check.