Capital Credits

woman with check

Capital Credits FAQ

What are Capital Credits?

Salem Electric is a not-for-profit electric cooperative. At the end of each fiscal year, if revenues exceed expenses, margins (operating revenue less operating expense) are allocated to members as capital credits based on the amount the member paid to Salem Electric for electric service during the year. An allocation notice detailing the amount of capital credits earned is mailed to members each spring, typically during the month of May. Capital credits are then invested in the cooperative in the form of working capital, new construction, infrastructure maintenance, debt reduction, and other capital purposes approved by the Salem Electric Board of Directors.

Can I use my capital credit allocation to pay my bill?

No, allocated credits have no monetary value until the Board takes action to refund a portion of the credits (based on the current financial condition of the cooperative). 

When will I receive my capital credit refund?

Each year the Board determines whether the current financial condition of the cooperative allows for capital credit refunds. Historically, the Board has returned 5% of the outstanding credits each October, refunded in order of seniority after approximately 20 years. 

How will I receive my capital credit refunds?

By default, capital credit refunds are paid by mailing a check to the last known valid mailing address. Instead of receiving a check, members may have the refund applied as a credit to their active Salem Electric account or donated to Salem Electric's member assistance program. If you wish to change how your capital credit refunds are paid, please contact us. 

Can I donate my credits or give them to someone else?

Yes, credits can be donated to Salem Electric’s member assistance program or assigned (given) to another person by completing the proper documentation. Please contact us for more information. 

What happens to my capital credits if I am no longer a member of Salem Electric?

Because capital credits are used for the capital needs of the cooperative, they are not immediately payable when you leave Salem Electric’s service. Capital credits are refunded based on the Board’s practice of annually refunding 5% of the outstanding credits, in order of seniority. To ensure you receive payment of your capital credits, keep the cooperative informed of your current mailing address.

What happens to the capital credits of a deceased member?

If a member should die before their credits have been refunded, the member’s heir can claim the credits by contacting Salem Electric. 

What happens to my credits if they are not claimed?

If credits are not claimed within four years after becoming payable, they may be forfeited through action by the Board of Directors and returned to Salem Electric.