LCEC board approves return of $12 million to members
The LCEC Board of Trustees has voted to retire up to $12 million in member equity and return it to past and current customers.
Equity is the ownership interest of LCEC members’ in the total assets of the electric cooperative. As a not-for-profit electric cooperative, assets are funded by margins and debt. Net margins are allocated to members annually in the form of a credit to their equity account.
“Net margins are not profit and do not benefit anyone other than members they do not benefit LCEC management, employees, or Trustees in their management and oversight of the cooperative,” LCEC Chief Executive Officer Denise Vidal said in a statement issued on April 3.
“When possible, a portion of equity can be converted to cash, retired, and returned to members,” the release states.
“The retirement will provide some relief for customers feeling the economic strain of COVID-19 and unable to pay their electric bill. In April and in May, inactive customers will receive a check for their portion of the equity return and active customers will receive a credit on their May bill, or a check if the amount is more than $250. The amounts will vary based on the members’ contribution to revenues.”
In addition to the $12 million equity return, LCEC continues to encourage customers having difficulty making a payment to call for assistance. If already past due, customers are able to request an extension through the LCEC SmartHub app or online at LCEC.net.
“We remain committed to delivering reliable power and quality service at the lowest rate possible and will maneuver through these uncertain times with all of our customers’ best interest in mind,” Vidal said.
As a not-for-profit cooperative, LCEC relies on revenue to maintain the grid, purchase power, repay lenders, pay taxes, and hire skilled workers. Revenue is earned strictly by billing and collecting for the electricity already used by customers.
LCEC also contributes funds to a short-term energy assistance fund, the LCEC Power to Share program, in partnership with the United Way. Employees and customers help fund the program which provides bill payment for customers experiencing hardship. Donations to the fund can be made atwww.unitedwaylee.org/donate/.