Members who had electric service with North Arkansas Electric Cooperative in 2021 will receive their capital credit certificate for that service in the mail in mid-September.
These certificates are notices only and cannot be cashed or used as credit against electric bills. They are the co-op’s way of informing each member of the amount assigned to his or her account in capital credits for the year.
The cooperative business structure is different from most. NAEC does not return the money earned to an unknown investor or stockholder. Cooperative profits, called margins, are assigned to members, the owners, who are also users of the co-op’s services.
These margins are assigned on a prorated basis according to the amount of electricity used during the year in question. When and how much of capital credits are refunded depend on the co-op’s financial condition. The decision to refund capital credits is a complex one because margins represent system equity.
This equity is essential to the co-op’s financial strength. If NAEC returns too much of the system’s equity as capital credits, then it could jeopardize the co-op’s standing with lending agencies. It also would mean the co-op is refunding capital used as funds for construction.
Without these internally generated funds, the co-op would have to increase borrowing, increasing interest costs and the cost of providing service. On the other hand, if NAEC kept all margins year after year and built up a high equity level, we rightfully could gain the reputation of acting like a private utility rather than a cooperative owned by members.
The balance in a properly maintained equity/capital credit program lies somewhere between those two extremes. The NAEC Board of Directors and staff strive to maintain that proper balance.
Members with questions about capital credits or their account may email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 870-895-3221 to speak with a member service representative. They are available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Outage restoration work likely will continue through Sunday. Please report your outage by calling 870-895-3221. Updates are posted on the NAEC Facebook page. We appreciate your patience as we work as safely and quickly as possible.