Did you know as a member of Lincoln Electric Cooperative, you get certain benefits? One of the primary benefits of membership is receiving capital credits. LEC is a cooperative, which is a non-profit organization. Instead of profits, we have margins. Margins are any revenue we have in excess of our expenses each year. The total yearly margins are allocated to all members who were billed during the year.
Allocations are based on the dollar amount each member contributed during the year by paying their electric bill. For example, if you contributed one percent of our total yearly revenue, you would be allocated one percent of the total margins for that year.
In 2021, for the 41st consecutive year, your Board of Trustees approved the retirement of capital credits. They authorized for approximately three percent (3%) of our total member equity to be retired this year. This amounts to more than $328,000 in capital credits returned in 2021 to our current and former members. Capital credit checks will be issued to members who contributed to margins in 2003, 2004, and/or 2019.
The board elected to retire capital credits as a 50/50 split between the oldest and newest contributions. This helps to benefit more members and ensure that even newer members better understand the power of cooperatives. The board also chose to retire less this year - three instead of five percent. This is crucial to allow LEC to increase equity more quickly. A higher equity provides compounding effects to LEC and our members. As equity increases, we are eligible for lower interest rates on all existing and new loans. Especially with our long-term debt, any reduction in interest makes a big impact on our expenses. This helps keep rates low and improves our borrowing power.
If you were an active LEC member in 2003, 2004, and/or 2019, you may have had a check mailed the week of April 5. Please note that checks are only written for capital credits of $10 or more. If your capital credit retirement was less than that amount, it will be issued to you once your retired capital credit balance exceeds $10.
Since our incorporation in 1948, LEC has returned more than $13.4 million to members in capital credits.
Unclaimed Capital Credits
WE NEED YOUR HELP - A PROPOSED AGREEMENT COULD RAISE YOUR ELECTRIC RATES BY 5% TO OVER 50%
Reliable and affordable power in Montana is in immediate jeopardy and we urgently need your help. A largely confidential draft agreement has been in the works behind closed doors that could lead to the breaching of the four Lower Snake River Dams.
As a Bonneville Power Administration customer, Lincoln Electric relies on the clean, reliable energy produced from the Federal Columbia River Power System. That includes the power produced by the immensely valuable Lower Snake River Dams.
If those four dams are breached, energy costs for Lincoln Electric members will increase from 5% to over 50%, the chances of rolling blackouts in the Pacific Northwest will double, and access to hydropower will be uncertain.
Hydropower is key to ensuring reliable, affordable energy for our members. It is a critical, always available, carbon-free source of electric generation. As our nation depends on electricity to power more of the economy, we need more generating resources - not fewer. Consistent resources, like dams, are necessary for intermittent resources, like wind and solar, to integrate successfully into the electric grid. When the sun isn't shining or the wind isn't blowing, electricity produced by the always available hydropower system is crucial to keep the lights on.
Your voice is critical in the fight to ensure our power remains reliable and affordable. Please sign the petition at Voices for Cooperative Power before December 15 to support reliable power for Lincoln Electric members.
For more information, please visit Northwest River Partners and Bonneville Power Administration.
Please do not attach anything to our poles. The staples, nails, and tacks used to hang signs, fliers, and other objects create safety hazards for our linemen. It also costs our members more money as we must spend extra time removing obstacles from poles before work can be done safely. Thank you for your help keeping our linemen safe!
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