It Pays to Be a Member
As a member of Highline Electric, you are also an owner. When you make a payment to Highline Electric, a portion of that payment goes directly toward your investment in our electrical system. Unlike investor-owned utilities that generate profits on behalf of shareholders, not-for-profit electric cooperatives return any profits, or margins, to their members in the form of capital credits.
- Who gets a capital credit refund? Every member who bought electricity from Highline Electric during the previous year or before.
- When do you return capital credits? Each year, Highline Electric's Board of Directors evaluates how much to return, taking into consideration such factors as the impact on electric rates and financial strength of the co-op. Capital credits may not be returned every year.
- How is my refund amount determined? Your refund amount is based on the amount of electricity used and the years of service that are retired.
- How are the funds paid? Members receiving refund amounts of $10 or more receive a check in the mail.
- Who should I contact? You should contact Elise at 970.854.2236 or submit an email via our Contact Us form in the upper right corner and select "Capital Credits" from the Department list.
Capital Credit FAQs
The difference between a cooperative such as Highline Electric Association and an investor-owned utility is that a cooperative is owned by the member-customers it serves. As a member-owner, you share in the profits of the co-op. At the close of each fiscal year, all revenue received in excess of expenses (i.e. profits) is allocated back to the membership in the form of capital credits. This allocation is based on the dollar amount of electricity purchased during the same year.
You need to know two things about capital credits in order to understand how they work for you:
1. Allocations: Each year, you are "allocated" your portion of the previous year's profit based on the amount of electricity you purchased from Highline Electric Association (HEA) in relation to the total amount of electricity purchased by all members during the year. This amount is put into a "holding account" for a number of years and used by HEA to fund capital needs for items such as power line construction, transformers, trucks, inventory and other equipment. This is an underlying principle of the cooperative business model and is one more way we keep your electric rates as low as possible. This "allocation" becomes your equity in the cooperative and is maintained in a separate account assigned to you. In addition to Coop Allocations, there may also be Generation and Transmission (G & T) allocations. G & T allocations are the capital credits allocated to your account from the margins allocated to HEA from our power supplier.
2. Retirement: This is what you will get in cash at a later date. HEA uses the amount "allocated" to you for a time, but then returns this amount to members in the form of "retirements," which are actual "cash back" dollars to you. The G & T allocations work in the same manner, but cannot be paid out until our power supplier is able to "retire" the amount "allocated" to HEA.
Per cooperative bylaws, your locally elected Board of Directors determines the amount of retirement (cash back) each year, based on the financial condition of the cooperative and other considerations. These payments are usually made in December in the form of checks.
Whose name(s) is on your Highline Electric account? Is it just you? Is it you and someone else? Or is the account in the name of an entity? While it may seem unimportant, it makes a difference! Depending on who the Highline Electric account holder is, there are different circumstances that must be met so that capital credits may be cashed out in an estate retirement.
- Sole Account Holder – may be cashed out upon the account holder’s death
- Joint Account Holder – one half of the total capital credits may be cashed out upon the death of one of the parties
- Corporation, LLC, or another entity – can cash out capital credits based on the percentage owned by the deceased patron.
If you would like to transfer your capital credits to a different individual or entity, please contact the Holyoke office for a capital credit assignment.
No. The capital credits are allocated to the individual who is the primary account holder. While you may pay the bill and be listed as an “in care of applicant,” they are not automatically added to your account. The landowner must assign the capital credits to you. Individuals wanting to assign capital credits should contact Highline for documentation.
The member should inform our office of any changes in his or her mailing address. It is a member's responsibility to make sure the cooperative has up-to-date address information at all times. Each year, hundreds of refund checks are returned to the cooperative with invalid addresses. HEA can be contacted by phone, fax, or email to update an address.
The Highline Electric Association bylaws provide for the option of an early retirement of the capital credits of a deceased member to his or her estate. Representatives of a deceased member's estate can choose to receive the deceased member's capital credits in a lump sum (discounted) payout. To find the dollar amount of the estate retirement, the executor of the estate must contact the cooperative. When ready to make an election regarding the deceased member's estate, the successor must provide the following:
- Application for Refund of Capital Credits Due Deceased Member (if cashing out the account) OR Capital Credit Assignment (if transferring the balance of the account to another individual)
- Personal Representative Letters (if the estate is filed for probate or is greater than $64,000) OR Collection of Personal Property by Affidavit Pursuant to 15-12-1201, C.R.S. (notarized)
- Original Death Certificate
If you wish to have HEA personnel notarize the affidavit (free), please call ahead to ensure that a notary public will be available.
Each member has a separate capital credit account, which represents the member's ownership in the cooperative. When capital credits are allocated at the end of a year, all members who received electric service during that year will receive an allocation notice showing their current year's allocation and the outstanding balance of all years’ service.
Members with multiple accounts for different locations will receive a consolidated capital credit allocation statement and/or check whenever possible, grouped under a single membership number. Please note that at times, a separate capital credit allocation statement and/or check will be sent to you. The detail on each account will be displayed on these forms for ease of tracking.