WOEC Current: Capital Credit Allocations

Unclaimed Capital Credit Allocations Explained

Recently West Oregon Electric Cooperative published a list of former WOEC members who have unclaimed capital credit allocation checks on our books.  These capital credits were earned by members between the years of 1944 to 1969, and the WOEC board of directors had authorized the payment of them and had checks issued in 1999 and 2000.  The unclaimed checks are ones that were either returned to WOEC due to incorrect mailing addresses or were just never cashed by the member. Other members during that time period who had updated their current mailing address with WOEC, or were current members in 1999 & 2000 received their checks and have already been paid the capital credits from 1944 to 1969.

The Unclaimed Capital Credit list may be found on our website, www.westoregon.org, just click on the box with the notice in the lower left hand corner of the home page.  For some of our newer members and a refresher for long time members, we have put together this question and answer sheet to explain WOEC capital credits:

What are capital credits?

Because West Oregon Electric is a cooperative, owned by its members, it does not technically earn profits. Instead, any revenues over and above the cost of doing business are considered “margins.” These margins represent an interest-free loan of operating capital by the membership to the cooperative. This capital allows WOEC to finance operations and construction, with the intent that this capital will be repaid to you in later years when the cooperative is financially able to do so.

What is the difference between allocated and retired capital credits?

Allocated capital credits appear as an entry on the permanent financial records of the co-op and reflect your equity or ownership in WOEC. When capital credits are retired, a check is issued to you and your equity in the co-op is reduced.

How often will I receive an allocation notice?

You should receive an allocation notice annually after the finances for the previous year have been audited.  This notice is printed directly on your bill. Remember this is only a record of the allocation and that amount will be paid at a future date to be determined by the Board of Directors when the cooperative can afford to issue checks for payment of capital credits.

What do I have to do to start accumulating capital credits?

Capital credits are calculated by WOEC for everyone who purchased electricity during a year in which the co-op earned margins. No special action is required to start a capital credit account (credit rebecca). Your membership with West Oregon Electric Cooperative activates your capital credits account.

How are capital credits calculated?

The amount of capital credits you earn in a given year is based upon the amount of capital you contribute to the co-op through payment of your monthly bills. The more electric service you buy, the greater your capital credits earned. The sum of your monthly bills for a year is multiplied by a percentage to determine your capital credits.

What percent of my bill is returned as capital credits?

The percentage of your total payment that is allocated as capital credits varies from year to year, depending upon the success of the cooperative. Capital credits are only allocated for a year in which WOEC earns margins. Since capital credits are a member’s share of the margins, no credits are allocated for a year with no margins.

Do I have to be a customer for an entire year to earn capital credits?

No. Capital credits are calculated based upon a member’s monthly bills. If you are billed for service for even one month, you will accumulate some capital credits, if WOEC earned margins in that year.

Can I use allocated capital credits to pay my electric bill?

No. Allocated capital credits may not be used to pay current bills. Your electric bill is due now, whereas you may not be entitled to be paid your capital credits for many years.

Will I receive a capital credits check every year?

No. The board of directors must authorize a retirement before you receive a check. WOEC has only retired capital credits through the year 1969. When considering a retirement, the board analyzes the financial health of the co-op and will not authorize a retirement if WOEC cannot afford it.

What happens to my capital credits when I leave the West Oregon Electric Co-op service area?

Your capital credits remain on the books in your name and member number until they are retired. Because payments are made many years after credits are earned, you should ensure that WOEC always has your current mailing address.

Please notify us when your address changes, at  503-429-3021 or memberservice@westoregon.org