December 2, 2016
by Great Lakes Energy President/CEO Bill Scott
As my wife and I were getting our coats on one evening to take our dog on a brisk fall walk, she stopped suddenly. With a smile, she raised her right hand victoriously and held up a few wadded dollar bills that had lain forgotten in her coat for months. It’s amazing how such a discovery can bring such a simple feeling of happiness.
When you look at your December bill, we hope you’ll get a similar feeling. Marked in red on your bill, capital credit refunds are your share of GLE’s profits.
This year’s retirement of $10 million in capital credits is the largest in our history. This is due in part to the strong financial health of our power supplier, Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative. Members on our lines during 1991-93 will receive significantly higher refunds this year – some double the amount of last year!
But it’s more than getting money back on your bill. A capital credit refund is proof that Great Lakes Energy is doing its job. It lets you know that:
- Any profits we earn are shared only with you, the members and owners of our cooperative.
- Profits are possible because we practice fiscal responsibility as part of our cooperative principles, which includes recognizing members’ economic participation in their cooperative with financial rewards.
Electric co-ops are different than other utilities. Great Lakes Energy operates at cost–collecting just enough revenue to run and expand the business. When there’s money left over, it’s allocated back to our members as capital credits. When our financial position permits, the capital credits are retired and returned to members. Unlike other utilities, we don’t have shareholder investors. Our members are the owners of the co-op and receive the profits as capital credit refunds.
They are called “capital” credits because your investments allow us to obtain the capital we need to operate and expand.
The total amount of capital credit refunds issued annually since 2003 is over $56.1 million The efforts of our employees, board of directors and power supplier makes the annual return of refunds to our members possible.