IREA to return $3.65 million in capital credit to customers

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Intermountain Rural Electric Association customers will get a return on their money in a share-back program that pays revenues to the consumers who own the electric cooperative.

The board of directors for the rural electric provider opted in 2013 to return $3.65 million in revenues to IREA customers. Capital credit checks are issued to IREA consumers when the board agrees margins sufficiently exceeded expected capital needs, said Bill Schroeder, head of public affairs.

Since 2000, the Intermountain Rural Electric Association has paid more than $65 million to its customers, which include rural consumers in 10 counties across Colorado, including parts of Douglas and Elbert counties.

The association is a nonprofit electrical co-op owned by its customers, who have received capital credit distributions in all but a few of the last 25 years, Schroeder said.

“We’re very careful and cautious of how we spend their money,” Schroeder said. “We keep rates as low as possible and deal with state and federal legislative mandates. We are doing everything we can to be environmentally friendly and keep costs at a reasonable level. The better we do that job, the higher their capital credits will be.”

The amount of capital credit each customer can expect depends on the customer’s level of consumption and the length of time of the consumer’s membership, he said.

Each year the board considers whether the financial condition of the association warrants the retirement of capital credit. In the years in which the association’s margins or revenue exceeds its capital needs in the coming year, capital credits are retired and customers are refunded a portion of the retirement based on their electric consumption.

Capital credits are each year added to the customer’s account and must reach at least $8 to trigger issuance of a check. Elbert County consumers can expect to see their capital credit checks in the mail sometime in March, according to IREA.

Bruff Shea, director for IREA District 5, was among those board members to cast a yes vote.

“Our customers have to come first,” Shea said. “We have been working exceptionally hard to keep association costs low even as the price we pay for power has seen sharp increases. We know that when we do this well, our customers benefit.”