Capital Credits or Patronage Capital
One of the major benefits of being a cooperative member is the receipt of capital credits or patronage capital, which is like money back from your power company.
Here's how it works: money remaining after Hancock-Wood's bills are paid each year is known as margins (it is the margin between income and expenses). This money is used for capital expenditures, such as building or replacing lines, and is not paid back immediately. This becomes your investment or equity in the company. In a for-profit company, this money would be called profit. To be a true nonprofit cooperative, we believe this money should be returned to you–we call it patronage capital or capital credits.
We keep track of your patronage capital in a special account. You receive a notice each year telling you how much money from the previous calendar year's margins was allocated to your account. This is money we will eventually refund to you, your surviving spouse or your estate. The amount of patronage capital allocated to your account is in proportion to the dollar amount of electricity you used. In other words, if you paid for 1 percent of the power we sold, you would receive a 1 percent share of the margins left over at the end of the year into your capital credit account.
If a member passes away, the capital credit account should be transferred to a surviving spouse. If there is no surviving spouse, contact our office to initiate a refund of the capital credits. (Some paperwork is involved with this process). If a member passes away, we pay all patronage at its present-day value.
When will I get my capital credits?
Capital credits are usually issued or returned to you in December. The amount refunded each year is determined by our Board and is a percent of the total in your capital credit account. If you are a current Member, you will see this as a credit on your energy bill. If you are a past member who is owed patronage capital, you will receive this refund in the form of a check.
Are you a past member?
Each year, Hancock-Wood returns capital credits to members as tangible evidence of one of the benefits of being a cooperative member. According to our Code of Regulations, if a past member fails to claim patronage capital within four years of its issuance, the money is allocated to current members' patronage accounts.
See if your name is on our list. The names on this list are past members whose time to claim their checks is almost up. (We mailed the checks, but they were returned as undeliverable.)
Note: A new list is published each spring.