Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) is refunding members’ capital credits totaling nearly $5.4 million. Of that total, a general refund of approximately $3.4 million will be issued in July. Eligible active members will receive credits on their bills, and checks will be issued to eligible former members. Special refunds of about $2 million will be paid throughout the year to estates of deceased members and to help satisfy unpaid final bills.
“SMECO members invest in their cooperative every time they pay their bill. When SMECO meets its financial obligations and we can issue refunds to members, we are happy to do so,” said Austin J Slater, Jr., SMECO president and CEO. He added, “All SMECO members share the responsibility of financing the co-op, and receiving a refund of a portion of SMECO’s margins is one of their rewards.”
SMECO’s margins for 2018 totaled more than $27 million. SMECO uses margins—revenue minus expenses—as working capital for system improvements and construction. Slater explained, “Our members help to finance SMECO’s operations, and they realize one of the benefits of being a member when they receive a refund. Passing savings on to members is a basic co-op principle.”
At the end of each year, SMECO’s margins are allocated to a special capital credit account for each member, based on how much electricity the member purchased and the rate at which the account was billed. SMECO’s Board of Directors regularly evaluates the financial condition of the cooperative and determines when SMECO members’ capital credits will be refunded.
All eligible active members will receive a credit on the bill for their primary account. If members wish to contact SMECO to designate their primary account, they may call 1-888-440-3311. Eligible former members will receive a full refund of the balance in their capital credit account if the balance is $100 or less.
SMECO – The Cooperative Difference
SMECO was incorporated in 1937 and is one of the 15 largest electric cooperatives in the United States with more than 165,000 member accounts in Charles County, St. Mary’s County, southern Prince George’s County, and most of Calvert County.
Electric cooperatives are shaped by the communities they serve, because co-ops are owned by their customers. Co-op members elect the men and women who serve on the Board of Directors. Members share the responsibility of ownership by financing the cooperative’s operations, but they also share its rewards.