The Pueblo Chieftan

San Isabel returns $250,000 back to association members

It’s not every day when you open your mail and find that you get your money back.

But that’s what happens with members of the San Isabel Electric Association.

In fact, when it comes to getting your money back, it will come in a total of $250,000 in the form of 5,556 checks to be sent to San Isabel Electric served schools, businesses and residents this week, paying members back for their capital investment in San Isabel in 1987 and a partial allocation from 1988.

The nonprofit cooperative’s board of directors approved returning capital credits back to its members last week.

Part of the relationship between the nonprofit cooperative and its member owners is that the member shares in the financial performance of the cooperative. While investor-owned utilities return a portion of any profits back to its investors, electric cooperatives allocate excess revenue to members as “capital credits,” and retire, or pay the member when the co-op’s financial condition permits.

“The capital credit aspect of the cooperative business model is a key factor that sets San Isabel Electric apart from other types of utilities,” said Reg Rudolph, general manager for San Isabel Electric Association. “It’s the difference between being a member-owner of the co-op or a customer of an investor owned utility or municipal.

“It’s a great time of the year to reinforce our members’ knowledge about the investment they’ve made and continue to make in their cooperative and about the benefits of this investment,” Rudolph added.

“We’re working year-round to keep rates and operating costs low in order to return as much capital as possible, while still providing the high-quality service our members deserve.”

Annually, San Isabel Electric distributes revenues above operating costs to individuals and businesses that buy energy from the cooperative. With the exception of a few smaller amounts, the majority of residential checks range from $10 to $50, a news release from San Isabel Electric Association said..

Some businesses garner even larger sums, which are allocated in proportion to usage, the news release said..

School districts in the San Isabel Electric service area earned some of the larger pay outs with District 70 receiving $3,800.24 (a total of $72,251.23 since 2004), the news release said.

Other districts in the area are RE1 (Walsenburg area) $1,058.80 (total of $2,783.29 since 2004), RE2 (La Veta) $367.73 (total of $2,295.04 since 2004), RE6 (Aguilar) $285.96 (total of $2,848.15) and RE3 (Hoehne) $416.69 (total of $4,953.54 since 2004).

Some of the larger capital credit amounts returned to community businesses are City of Trinidad $2,836.28, Colorado City Metro District $1,400.01, Pueblo West Metro District $1,427.99, Town of Aguilar, $324.29, Town of La Veta $306.30, and Walsenburg Golf Association $189.88, City of Walsenburg $1,527.44, and Cuchara Sanitation and Water $280.90, the news release said.

The check total is determined by the amount of electricity used by the member during the year for which the capital has been retired, officials with the nonprofit coop said.

Members are currently receiving checks for the capital they invested several years ago, officials said.

The Association does not immediately distribute the full amount of capital at the end of each year in order to keep rates steady in case unforeseen changes occur.

“In order to allow us to plan for the future and ensure strength and stability within our service area, portions of the capital from each year are given out over time,” said Rudolph.

Due to the lapse of time between an investment in the Association and the full distribution of capital for each year, members are encouraged to leave forwarding addresses with San Isabel should they move off the system. In the case of a member’s death, a representative of the estate should contact SIEA to determine the status of the member’s capital credit checks, both now and in the future.

For more information about capital credits, please call 719-647-6267 or toll free at 800-279-7432, email at capitalcredits@siea.com, or visit the website at www.siea.com.

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