What are capital credits?
As a not-for-profit cooperative, Consolidated returns “capital credits” to members. That means the co-op’s margins, or the money that’s left at the end of the year after expenses are paid, are allocated to the members of the cooperative. The amount of capital credits you get is based on how much natural gas you purchase in a year.
Contributing capital to your cooperative — otherwise known as “having skin in the game” — and receiving returns on your contribution is one of the tenets of the business model. All co-ops are guided by a set of seven principles, and “members’ economic participation” is principle number 3.
It’s akin to how shareholders receive dividends from companies they hold stock in — except with co-ops like Consolidated, the owners are also the people who receive service from the co-op. That’s why we consider you a member, instead of a customer.
The co-op keeps the money for a number of years to offset unexpected expenses, such as storm damage, or to use as general operating funds. That helps Consolidated avoid taking loans or having high interest rates, which saves all members money.
How do I claim my capital credits?
When the board of trustees determines that the co-op is able to return capital credits to members, current Consolidated members will see a credit on their December natural gas bill.
Former members will get a check in the mail — that’s why it’s important that you keep us updated on your current address. We want you to get the money back that you put into your cooperative!
To claim capital credits on the estate of a deceased member, please call us at 800-421-5863 for assistance.