BEC to give $437k back to members

Beartooth Electric Cooperative’s Board of Trustees has elected to return $437k in capital credits to the Cooperative’s member-owners this November. Capital credits are also known as the Co-op’s margins. BEC is a not-for-profit utility; margins are returned to the members the Cooperative serves. Since 2011, the Cooperative has returned more than $1 million to members.
“The BEC Board of Trustees are working to financially position BEC in a 20-year capital credit retirement cycle (or a minimum of 5 percent of total credits annually),” stated BEC Board President, Julie Lindgren. “Last year we retired capital credits for the remainder of 1987 and all of 1988 and 1989 (1988 was a loss year, and no credits were allocated to members).”
To receive a check from the Cooperative this year, you must have been a Beartooth Electric Cooperative member in 1991 or 1992. If a member has eligible capital credits of any amount, they will receive a check, unless they hold an uncollectable account, which will be paid first from the return. Members who had an active account in 1991 or 1992, but are no longer served by BEC, will also receive a check for their portion of the retired capital credits.
According to Kevin Owens, General Manager of BEC, “This process is what sets us apart from other utilities. We’re not in business to make a profit for shareholders; we work to offer the greatest value to our Co-op members. If there is leftover money, we give it back to our members in the form of capital credit retirements.”
It is important for members to know two things about capital credits to understand how they work:
1. Allocations: Each year, members are “allocated” a portion of the previous year’s margins based on the amount of electricity purchased from BEC in relation to the total amount of electricity purchased by all the members during the year. This amount is put into a holding account for a number of years and used by BEC to fund capital needs for items such as power line construction, transformers, trucks, inventory and other operational needs. This is an underlying principle of the cooperative business model and is one more way we keep electric rates as low as possible. This “allocation” becomes the member’s equity in the cooperative and is maintained in an account assigned to each member.
2. Retirement: This is what members will get in cash at a later date. BEC uses the amount “allocated” to each member for a time but then returns this amount to members in the form of “retirements,” which are actual “cash back” dollars. When capital credits are retired, member equity in the cooperative is reduced.
What happens if Capital Credit refunds are unclaimed?
A cooperative shall, upon the action of the board of trustees, retain patronage refunds allocated to its members that remain unclaimed for a period of 5-years after the end of the year in which the refunds are given. Montana Code Annotated 35-18-316, allows unclaimed refunds retained by the cooperative to be used for educational purposes or be forfeited to the State. BEC uses unclaimed capital credits to fund the Beartooth Electric Scholarship program, Washington D.C. Youth Tour and other service area educational based projects.
Do you or someone you know have unclaimed Capital Credits?
BEC mailed out Capital Credit Retirement checks to current and former members who had electric service during the remainder of 1987 and all of 1989 and 1990. Several of these checks have been returned or remain uncashed. The list of unclaimed capital credits checks is posted on our website and in the BEC office. If your name appears on the list or you know the whereabouts of any individuals in this listing, please let them know to call BEC at 800-472-9821 or 406-446-2310 to speak with a customer service representative about unclaimed capital credits.


Upcoming Events

  • Monday, July 22, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Joliet Group meets at the Community Center Monday at 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, July 23, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Now Group meets at the Bridger United Methodist Church, 222 W. Broadway (west entrance of church) Tuesday at 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, July 25, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Meets every Thursday, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation, 122 S. Hauser. It is open to all. 425- 1755.
  • Thursday, July 25, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Clarks Fork Group meets at St. Joseph’s Catholic Hall, north end of Montana Avenue, Thursday at 7 p.m.
  • Friday, July 26, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Rock Creek Group meets Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. at Calvary Church, 9 N Villard, Red Lodge.
  • Monday, July 29, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Joliet Group meets at the Community Center Monday at 7 p.m.

The Carbon County News

Street Address:

11 N. Broadway, Red Lodge, MT 59068

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 970, Red Lodge, MT 59068

Phone: 406-446-2222

Fax: 406-446-2225

Toll-Free: 800-735-8843

Open: Monday-Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.