One of the benefits of being a Columbia REA (CREA) member is our commitment to you, our member-owners. There are seven cooperative principles that we follow when making decisions about CREA. One of these principles is our member’s financial participation in funding the operations of the co-op.
When our members help provide the financial resources needed to fund the co-op, it allows us to keep our rates low and reduce the need for borrowing money. Every member provides capital when they pay their bill each month. At the end of each year, the co-op returns the capital or margins above what is needed for operating the Cooperative to eligible members based on a rolling Capital Credits retirement schedule. Based on the amount of your bills and your years of membership with the Co-op, the amount allocated is calculated and returned in the form of Capital Credits. In 2021 we had larger than average sales because of the hot weather, and this has created more income than what our budget required.
For this reason, your Board of Directors has approved $1.5 million to be returned to members who were with the Co-op in 1996, 1997, and 2020. In mid-December, those members will receive a check in the mail if their account is paid in full or a credit applied to their account if there is an outstanding balance.