HUGHESVILLE, Md. – Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) is refunding members’ capital credits totaling nearly $7.1 million. Of that total, a general refund of approximately $4.7 million will be issued in July. Eligible active members will receive credits on their bills, and checks will be issued to eligible former members. Special refunds of about $2.4 million will be paid throughout the year to include estates of deceased members.
SMECO’s margins for 2021 totaled more than $24 million. SMECO uses margins—revenue minus expenses—as working capital for new construction, system improvements, and facility upgrades. Sonja M. Cox, SMECO president and CEO, explained, “Our members help to finance SMECO’s operations, and they can be assured that we are investing in infrastructure and technology that will benefit them.”
Cox added, “SMECO customers invest in their cooperative every time they pay their bill, and we are responsible for keeping the lights on. But, because our customers are our members, we also exercise a basic cooperative principle by sharing a portion of SMECO’s margins with them.” SMECO’s margins are based on the cooperative’s revenue and expenses, not the cost of energy. While the cost of energy has increased over the last year, SMECO makes no profit on energy costs, and energy rates have no impact on SMECO’s margins.
At the end of each year, SMECO’s margins are allocated to a special account for each member, based on how much electricity the member purchased and the rate at which the account was billed. SMECO’s Board of Directors regularly evaluates the financial condition of the cooperative and determines when SMECO members’ capital credits will be refunded. Refunds will be credited to members’ bills beginning July 11 and checks will be mailed to eligible former members beginning July 25.
All eligible active members will receive a credit on the bill for their primary account. If members wish to contact SMECO to designate their primary account, they may call 1-888-440-3311. Eligible former members will receive a full refund of the balance in their capital credit account if the balance is $100 or less. Any remaining balances attributable to allocations made in the year 1988 will also be issued to eligible members and former members. Whenever SMECO members move out of the co-op’s service area, they should contact SMECO to update their mailing address in order to receive refund checks in the future.
SMECO – The Cooperative Difference –
SMECO was incorporated in 1937 and is one of the 15 largest electric cooperatives in the United States with more than 170,000 member accounts in Charles County, St. Mary’s County, southern Prince George’s County, and most of Calvert County.
Electric cooperatives are shaped by the communities they serve, because co-ops are owned by their customers. Co-op members elect the men and women who serve on the Board of Directors. Members share the responsibility of ownership by financing the cooperative’s operations, but they also share its rewards.
At the end of each year, SMECO’s margins (profits) are allocated to members’ capital credit accounts. SMECO uses its profits to invest in new construction, system improvements, and facility upgrades. The Board of Directors regularly evaluates the financial condition of the co-op and determines when members will receive a refund. Since 1937, SMECO has refunded more than $116 million.
As a cooperative, SMECO will always put its members first and be responsive, reliable, and resourceful—the power you can count on.
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The SMECO 24/7 mobile app is available at www.smeco.coop/247.