CEO’s Message – March 2023

Cash Back Spring Change

Anthony Smith headshotSpring is just around the corner and I, for one, won’t miss winter. With spring comes the opportunity to do some spring cleaning and, I have to say, I’m not always the most helpful in that department. One thing I don’t mind is switching out our winter wear for lighter clothing, including swapping our heavy coats for jackets.

Occasionally, I reach into the pockets of one of those recently unboxed jackets and discover a few coins or even a few bucks I had stowed in there and forgotten. It’s the same thrill I get when I discover money in the laundry. The washed and fabric-softened bills always make me smile and think, “Woo-hoo, I’ve found some treasure!”

Realizing you’ve found some extra treasure is a good thing, right? Well, here’s a cool part about being a member of a cooperative like Union Rural Electric (URE): You are an owner of the company. As time goes on, we allocate more capital to each member every year, and give some of our past earnings back to our members every spring. Instead of discovering it in your jacket pocket, you can find it as a credit on your May bill.

Right now, we’re getting ready to allocate 2022’s member capital based on earnings from last year. We also are preparing to make a proposal to our board of trustees to refund some earnings from past years. This process demonstrates one clear difference between a cooperative like URE and a typical utility. While other companies are pressured to earn profits from their customers for their investors, URE is working for you by improving reliability, maintaining fair rates, and continuing our involvement with the local community, then allocating excess earnings right back to you.

Your April URE electric and gas bill will show the 2022 allocation for your account, along with the total capital allocation still held by the cooperative. Usually, we refund those capital allocations within 20 years, with board approval, in the form of a credit on your bill. Or, in the case of a former member, we send a check. In 2022, URE returned $2.65 million to our members.

Any checks for refunded credits that are returned to the cooperative as “undeliverable” are placed on an unclaimed funds list on our website for 4 years. Attempts will be made to find the members to whom this money belongs, but if no claim is made, it will be redistributed to the rest of the membership.

That’s why it’s important that you give us your new address if you move away from URE’s system so we can continue sending checks when we refund future credits. You can email us or call us at (937) 642-1826 to let us know your new address. After all, you earned the money for being a member, and we want to make sure you continue receiving these funds.

Everyone loves to find a little extra money in a pocket. Similarly, when you look at your May bill, perhaps you’ll be thinking, “Woo-hoo! A little Treasure!” It’s just a perk of being part of Your electric cooperative.