In December, capital credit checks will be sent out to members who were active in 1993, plus some from 1994 as Orcas Power and Light Cooperative continues to smooth its 25-year cycle for capital credit distributions.
Capital credit allocations represent members’ equity in the co-op. Each year, the non-profit cooperative allocates any margins available at year-end to each members’ account to be paid back in the form of capital credits after 25 years. This year’s capital credit distribution total is about $1,003,000, which includes the remainder of 1993 (some were paid in 2017) and a portion of 1994. In the next 25 years, the margins we will be basing capital credit distributions on vary widely: from $121,000 to $3.1 million. Anticipating these larger margins, the board discussed smoothing out capital credit distributions based roughly on a 10-year rolling average. Smoothing helps OPALCO to budget for the cash required to pay capital credits and keeps co-op margins in the members’ hands. Members will continue to get their capital credits at 25 years, but distribution will be calculated based on a general rolling average.
Checks will mail by the end of December. The check amounts range from $5 to thousands (for big energy users like grocery stores); most checks are for between $50–250.