America’s Electric Cooperatives PAC
The America’s Electric Cooperatives PAC program is an exciting opportunity for you to join other co-op members in raising your voice and participating in the political process. Funds raised by this grassroots network are donated to the political campaigns of candidates whose positions on issues support those of electric cooperatives.
No rate dollars are used for this program. All contributions are 100 percent voluntary.
When you join this grassroots network, you help with the long-term success of electric cooperatives like Great Lakes Energy.
Great Lakes Energy also encourages members to vote! Visit vote.coop to learn more about the issues affecting electric cooperatives and how you can support them.
Contributions to America’s Electric Cooperatives PAC are not tax deductible. All contributions are voluntary and will be used for political purposes. Contribution guidelines are suggestions only. You may contribute more or less than the recommended amount. You may refuse to contribute without reprisal. No corporate checks or contributions accepted. Only residential and seasonal GLE members are eligible to contribute.
Though the name “ACRE” was effective when it was first established, today’s policymakers who, as federal
candidates were supported by ACRE, do not make the connection between ACRE support and the eligible
employees, directors and consumer-members of electric co-ops that fund the PAC. As NRECA works to
maximize our network’s political and advocacy efforts, now is the time to closely align the NRECA PAC
with the rest of our political and advocacy programs.
To understand the disconnect policymakers have between ACRE and electric co-ops, we conducted research
with individuals associated with federal politics, policymakers and PAC donors to assess their attitudes
towards the ACRE brand. The research revealed that PAC contributors and external stakeholders were in
agreement that the PAC’s identity should be more strongly connected to electric co-ops and NRECA.
“America’s Electric Cooperatives PAC” and its visual identity will enable federal candidates to clearly
identify where PAC contributions come from and align it to NRECA’s brand and reputation, which is wellrespected among those associated with federal politics and policymakers. Our expectation is that the new
brand, with its connection to electric co-ops and NRECA, will strengthen our collective political and
advocacy efforts across the board.
When you moved into Great Lakes Energy’s service territory and began purchasing electricity from us, you became a member of the Cooperative. Because electricity is delivered to your home by Great Lakes Energy, you are a member and an owner. This means that all Great Lakes Energy assets – even the poles and wires – are owned by our members.
As a member-owned Cooperative, Great Lakes Energy allocates and eventually returns its annual margins (i.e., profits) to its member-owners in the form of capital credit refunds. It’s part of the value you receive for sharing in the ownership of a cooperative.
Allocations appear on June bills and reflect your share of any profit from the previous year based on the amount of electricity you purchased. Capital credit refunds of $25 or more are issued as a check, and refunds less than $25 will show as a credit on your December bill, as financial conditions allow. Please keep your mailing address updated so you will receive future capital credit refunds, even when you are no longer receiving electricity from GLE.
We plan to continue to refund capital credits each year provided financial conditions allow us to do so.
Capital credits are a key reason why you’re more than just a customer. You’re a member of Great Lakes Energy! They represent your share of profits, called margins in the cooperative world, that are generated when revenues received from our members exceed our operating costs. Since we are a cooperative, we do not keep these margins, but rather allocate them back to the members who provide the revenue through the electric rates they paid during the year. Unlike investor-owned utilities, cooperatives do not have shareholder investors/owners. Our members are our investor/owners. Every time you pay your bill, you’re making an investment in a business you co-own.
A capital credit allocation is different from a capital credit refund. Allocations appear on June bills and reflect your share of any profit from the previous year based on the amount of electricity you purchased. We keep track of your allocations and refund these to you over time as financial conditions allow. These refunds are called capital credit refunds
Your share of the profits is based on the amount of electricity that you purchased from GLE during certain years. If your neighbors purchased more electricity in these years than you, they will receive a larger refund.
We want to make sure that both newer and long-term members benefit from this program and receive their entitled amounts. You can help us, too. If you took over the electric account from a relative who is now deceased, we will provide you with instructions on how to claim any future capital credit refunds that may be issued in the deceased’s name. Anyone who plans to move off our lines should provide us with their new address for our records. Your assistance will help limit the amount of unclaimed capital credit refunds.
Yes, we plan to continue to retire capital credits annually provided financial conditions allow us to do so.
They remain part of the capital invested in the cooperative so we can continue to build and improve our power line distribution system and provide the other services that you expect from your electric cooperative.
Capital credit refunds have been paid to members annually since 2003 and total millions of dollars. Based on our past history, we expect to continue issuing capital credit refunds, but it is too early to predict plans for next year. However, GLE has remained financially strong despite the many challenges that face utilities and businesses today.
The person or group who can legally claim the refund must return the original check and a completed inducement form. We will then reissue the check and also send future checks to you.
The ability to provide reliable electric service along with the safety of our employees and members are very important to Great Lakes Energy. In order to achieve both, we must maintain our equipment and power line rights-of-way through a variety of practices, including vegetation management. View our Vegetation Management brochure for more information.
Trees are the most common cause of power outages for Great Lakes Energy members. To achieve greater reliability for our members, our Vegetation Management department performs routine maintenance of trees and other vegetation on our more than 12,000 miles of overhead lines.
Routine vegetation management activities are completed on a regular cycle of approximately every seven years.
How Much Will Be Trimmed?
The amount of space required for overhead electric line clearance is determined by the Rural Utility Service and also by the species of tree and voltage of the line. Sometimes it is better to remove a tree than to prune it drastically, although each tree is evaluated individually. Our professional, certified contractors perform tree pruning and removal for Great Lakes Energy. Please do not attempt to prune a tree yourself if it’s under or near an overhead line.
2023 Counties and Townships Scheduled
Antrim County: Banks, Echo, Forest Home, Helena, Jordan, Milton, and Torch Lake
Charlevoix County: Bay, Evangeline, Hayes, Norwood, and South Arm
Crawford County: Lovells
Emmet County: Resort
Oscoda County: Big Creek, Elmer, and Greenwood
Lake County: Chase, Elk, Ellsworth, Pinora, and Yates
Manistee County: East Stronach and West Norman
Montcalm County: Reynolds
Muskegon: Ravenna and White River
Newaygo County: Ashland, Barton, Big Prairie, Bridgeton, Brooks, Croton, Everett, Garfield, Home, Lilley, Monroe, and Sheridan
Oceana County: Claybanks
Osceola County: Highland, Lincoln, Leroy, Richmond, Rose Lake, and Sherman
Ottawa: Allendale, Blendon, and Polkton
To ensure proper planting, only plant trees with a mature height of 14 ft. or less in areas within 20 ft. of overhead power lines. Trees that have a mature height of 40 ft. or less should be planted at least 20 ft. from power lines. Trees with a mature height of 40 ft. or more can be planted at least 45 ft. away from power lines.
For more information on proper planting, visit the National Arbor Day Foundation.
Call Before You Dig
Before you dig, be safe and always call Miss Dig to protect yourself from harm. Utility personnel will come to your property and place flags in the ground in locations where underground wires run. There is no charge for this service. Dial 8-1-1, or go to missdig.org.