Co-Mo Electric Cooperative is returning more than $2 million to its active members in the form of credits on their electric bill in late November and early December.
In addition, the cooperative authorized the return of more than $800,000 to former members who last earned credits in 1999.
Since the cooperative formed in 1939, the board of directors has authorized the return of more than $35 million to members.
"That's who we are," said Ken Johnson, Co-Mo CEO and general manager. "Any money we earn above and beyond the cost of doing business is allocated to our members after approval from the board. It's the members' money."
The money being returned was collected to finance the cooperative's operation, in keeping with the cooperative principle of Member Economic Participation.
"The money the members invest in their system is vital to making the system better and keeping it in good working order," said Co-Mo Finance Manager Michael Nelson. "Then those credits are retired by the board and ultimately returned to the membership."
This is the sixth straight year the cooperative has returned money via a credit on members' electric bills. By not mailing checks to credit accounts, the cooperative has saved more than $100,000 for its members.
Johnson said it's rewarding to be part of a business that gives money back to its members, especially at this time of year.
"We look at this as a great time to be taking some pressure off the bills for our members," Johnson said. "Some members will actually owe no money to the cooperative this month because they're credit covers their bill. That can make the difference between a bad holiday season and good holiday season for some."
Credits are distributed based on how long members have been part of the cooperative. Those who joined in 2010 have not earned any credits yet. The largest capital credit was returned to the cooperative's biggest customer, Burger's Smokehouse. The smallest credit was 1 cent.
(Breakdown of money being returned this year)
Active members - 23,183 - $2,001,330.11
Former members - TBD - $865,785*
Total - $2,867,115.11
*Estimate, returned to members who last purchased electricity in 1999