Fall River Electric Cooperative has mailed checks totaling $1,019,000 to over 6,000 of its customers.
Fall River actually calls customers “owner-members” and the checks are part of its patronage capital program.
When revenues collected by the co-op exceed its operating costs, the extra revenue becomes patronage capital. That money is then disbursed to the cooperative’s owner members on a 20-year cycle. That cycle allows the co-op to achieve an ideal equity level, which allows it to obtain lower interest loans used for large capital projects.
The amount of cash a member receives is based on how much electricity they used during the years being retired. This year, members are receiving patronage capital earned in 1997 and a portion of 1998.
“Cash back payments made to our customers are a unique and tremendous benefit to be a member of a cooperative,” said Fall River CEO/General Manager Bryan Case. “It is made possible with the approval of our elected Board of Directors. They analyze the financial health of our Cooperative and only pay out patronage capital when it is in the best interest of our entire membership.”
Case said the cooperative’s equity has improved dramatically over the past several years, contributing to the board’s ability to retire patronage capital.