What are capital credits?
West Oregon Electric is a cooperative owned by its members, it does not technically earn profits. Instead, any revenue over and above the cost of doing business is considered “margins.” These margins represent an interest-free loan of operating capital by the membership to the cooperative. This capital allows WOEC to finance operations and construction, with the intent that this capital will be repaid to you in later years when the cooperative is financially able to do so.

What is the difference between allocated capital credits and retired capital credits?
Allocated capital credits appear as an entry on the permanent financial records of the co-op and reflect your equity or ownership in WOEC. When capital credits are retired, a check is issued to you and your equity in the co-op is reduced.

How often will I receive an allocation notice?
You will receive a yearly allocation printed directly on your bill. This notice is sent after finances from the previous year have been audited. Remember this is only a record of the allocation and that amount will be paid at a future date to be determined by the Board of Directors when the cooperative can afford to issue checks for payment of capital credits.

What do I have to do to start accumulating capital credits?
Capital credits are calculated by WOEC for everyone who purchased electricity during years that the co-op earned margins. No special action is required to start a capital credit account. Your membership with WOEC automatically activates your capital credits account.

How are capital credits calculated?
The amount of capital credits you earn in a given year is based upon the amount of capital you contribute to the co-op through payment of your monthly bills. The more electric service you buy, the more capital credit you earn. The sum of your monthly bills for a year is multiplied by a percentage to determine your capital credits.

What percent of my bill is returned as capital credits?
The percentage of your total payment that is allocated as capital credits varies from year to year, depending upon the success of the cooperative. Capital credits are only allocated when WOEC earns margins. Since capital credits are a member’s share of the margins, no credits are allocated for a year without margins.

Do I have to be a customer for an entire year to earn capital credits?
No. Capital credits are calculated based upon a member’s monthly bills. If you are billed for service for even one month, you will accumulate capital credits, if WOEC earned margins in that year.

Can I use allocated capital credits to pay my electric bill?
No. Allocated capital credits may not be used to pay current bills. Your electric bill is due now, whereas you may not be entitled to be paid your capital credits for many years.

Will I receive a capital credits check every year?
No. The board of directors must authorize a retirement before you receive a check. WOEC has only retired capital credits through the year 1969. When considering a retirement, the board analyzes the financial health of the co-op and will not authorize a retirement if WOEC cannot afford it.

What happens to the capital credits I earned when I leave the West Oregon Electric Cooperative service area?
Your capital credits will remain on the books in your name and under your member number until they are retired. Because payments are made many years after credits are earned, you should ensure that WOEC always has your current mailing address.
Please notify us if your address changes: 503-429-3021 or memberservice@westoregon.org