Wright-Hennepin board returns $1.2 million in capital credits to members

Posted on November 28, 2011

Rockford, Minn. (November 28, 2011) — Thanks to Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association’s (WH) continuing strong operational and financial performance, almost all members will receive a capital credit refund on their energy bills this holiday season.

WH’s board of director’s recently declared a capital credit return of $1.2 million to members who purchased electricity from the cooperative during 1987, 2009 or 2010.  This is $200,000 more than last year.

Membership with WH entitles all members to share in its success. Capital credit refunds are a distinct and important part of the cooperative business model. The individual member’s share of the refund is based on their energy use during the years being retired. However, before returning these margins back to members, WH uses this capital to offset the cost of debt for equipment and facilities used for the construction and maintenance of the electric distribution system. This working capital represents the members’ ownership equity in WH. This helps keep WH’s electric rates as low as possible because it lowers financing needs.

WH retires portions of annual margins faster than many electric co-ops in the nation because of a board-recommended bylaw amendment passed by the members in 1998. This amendment has resulted in more members being eligible for a refund each year. Per cooperative bylaws, WH’s member-elected board determines the amount of margins retired each year based on the cooperative’s financial condition and other considerations.

“Capital credits are the cornerstone of the cooperative way of doing business,” said WH Board Chair Chris Lantto. “The board of directors is again pleased to return margins to members despite so many challenges in the economy at this time.”

Since refunds were first made in 1957, more than $31 million has been returned to members via capital credit refunds. This is the 31st consecutive year that the board has made capital credit refunds to WH’s members. 

WH’s board of directors include Chair Chris Lantto, District 5, French Lake; Vice Chair Thomas Mach, District 6, Maple Grove; Secretary-Treasurer Dale Jans, District 4, Buffalo; Timothy Young, District 1, Annandale; Duane “Butch” Lindenfelser, District 2, Monticello; Burton Horsch, District 3, Howard Lake; Sarah Evenson, District 7, Plymouth; Donald Lucas, District 8, Maple Grove; and Erick Heinz, District 9, Corcoran.

WH is a member-owned non-profit electric utility that provides electric power to Wright County and the western part of Hennepin County. The cooperative has been a corporate citizen in this area since 1937 and currently serves more than 46,000 electric accounts. The utility started its security division in 1989 that provides local home security solutions as well as monitors alarm systems for more than 50,000 customers in 32 states and three Canadian provinces.