Most Walton Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) customer-owners will soon receive a nice refund. The cooperative's board of directors has approved the return of another $6 million capital credit refund. The latest refund brings the total returned by the co-op to $99,571,000.
The year's refund will start appearing on electric bills beginning in December. The amount each customer-owner receives is in proportion to the total of their electric bills during the years of 1993, 1994, 1995 and 2017. The more a customer-owner spent with the co-op, the larger their refund will be.
Why are these refunds given? Walton EMC's customers also own the company. Any money collected over what it takes to operate is returned to those who paid it. It doesn't make sense to profit from yourself, exemplifying one of the seven cooperative principles Walton EMC operates by: member economic participation.
How are refunds distributed? Most customer-owners will receive the credit on their December or January bill, saving tens of thousands of dollars in printing and mailing costs that check distribution would require. But, if the refund is more than $500, a check will be issued.
When are refunds made? Walton EMC distributes capital credit refunds when it's financially prudent. Some of the co-op's excess income – called "margins" – is used to pay down debt and prepare for emergencies. But every penny of these margins is credited to the co-op's customer-owner accounts and is eventually returned.
Walton EMC is a customer-owned power company that serves 128,000 accounts over its 10-county service area between Atlanta and Athens.