One of the benefits of being part of a cooperative is that you are a member-owner. Your ownership is reflected in patronage capital.
VEC reports your patronage capital balance on your monthly bills. This information includes the amount of patronage capital allocated to you for the previous year, the amount of patronage capital returned to date, and your remaining patronage capital balance. Each year, we provide updated information.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is patronage capital?
Patronage capital is your share of the money that remains at the end of the year after we pay our operating expenses.
How is patronage capital determined?
Patronage capital is allocated to members based on how much they paid in electric charges that year.
In your monthly bill, you will see the amount of patronage capital allocated to you the previous year, the amount of patronage capital returned to-date, and your remaining patronage capital balance. Each year, we provide updated information.
I have several accounts. How will I know my total patronage capital amount?
Your total patronage capital balance, based on all your accounts, will be printed on your bill.
Can I apply my patronage capital balance to the payment of my bill?
No. Your bill notifies you of your current patronage capital balance. Each year VEC's Board of Directors determines whether VEC is in a strong enough financial position to refund a portion of patronage capital and the amount of the refund. Patronage capital is applied to your bill only when the VEC Board of Directors authorizes a patronage capital refund.
When could I receive a patronage capital refund?
Each year, the VEC Board of Directors determines whether the co-op is in a strong enough financial position to return a portion of patronage capital to members. If so, they decide which years and what percentage from those years to refund.
- In 2013, the VEC Board of Directors authorized the return of $850,000 of patronage capital to members of record for 1997 and 2012 ($425,000 for each year).
- In 2014, the VEC Board authorized the return of $500,000 of patronage capital to members of record for 1997 and 2013 ($250,000 for each year).
- In 2015, a sum of $500,000 was authorized to be returned to members of record for 1997 and 2014 ($250,000 for each year).
- In 2016, a sum of $500,000 was authorized to be returned to members of record for 1997 and 2015 ($250,000 for each year).
Refund amounts are a percentage of your total patronage capital allocation for those years. Active members in good standing who were members during refunded years can expect to receive a bill credit in the fall. Inactive members can expect to receive an application to receive a refund and a check once that application has been returned.
Click here for a list of inactive accounts that have unclaimed patronage capital.
Why don't you just send me all the money now?
It is necessary for VEC to maintain an appropriate fund of patronage capital in order to make upgrades to our electrical system, secure stable power supply contracts, and make other beneficial investments. Investments in our infrastructure provide you with safe and reliable service.
What happens to my patronage capital balance if I move away?
You will no longer receive additional patronage capital allocations, but the balance that you earned while an active member in good standing will be maintained in your name. It is important that you keep VEC informed of your current address so we can notify you if VEC refunds patronage capital in the future.
What if I'm no longer a VEC member? How will I know when a patronage capital refund is issued?
If you are listed as a member of record during the years authorized for a patronage capital refund, you may be eligible to receive a refund check. You must be in good standing with the co-op and not have a remaining balance on your VEC account. Additionally, the patronage capital refund must exceed $10 in order for VEC to issue a refund check per the VEC Board of Directors policy.
Those former members eligible to receive a refund check will be notified via mail (to the last address on file) and will be asked to complete a Refund Request Application. This application, along with proof of identification, must be returned to VEC in order to claim the refund check. It's very important that you keep VEC informed of your current address to prevent a delay in receiving your refund.
Click here to see a list of former VEC members with available Patronage Capital distributions. Former members can submit a Refund Request Application at any time.
What if the member listed on an account passes away? What happens to their patronage capital balance?
If the individual whose name appears on an active VEC account passes away, the surviving spouse should contact VEC's Member Services Department at 1-800-832-2667 to transfer the account into their name. If the account remains active, the surviving spouse will continue to earn patronage capital and receive future distributions.
If there is no surviving spouse, it is necessary for the heir(s) to furnish copies of the death certificate and any necessary information stating who is the beneficiary of the estate. Again, contact VEC's member services department at 1-800-832-2667 and we can walk you through the process.
Why is patronage capital unique to cooperatives?
A cooperative is a not-for-profit business that is owned and operated by its members. VEC operates differently from shareholder-owned utilities in that we are not designed to create a profit for shareholders. Our customers are also our owners. Since we are owned by the customers we serve, all earnings are allocated to you.