BAKER CITY — Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative’s Board of Directors has approved the retirement of $3 million in capital credits to its member-owners.

OTEC in a press release Tuesday, Nov. 3, explained capital credit retirements are one of the more visible benefits of membership in an electric cooperative.

“Positive financial conditions allowed for us to return these funds to our members,” OTEC Chief Financial Officer Heidi Dalton said. “Our financials are strong and we’re proud to demonstrate the power of the cooperative business model through capital credit retirements.”

The credits become each member’s “owners’ equity” and investment in OTEC, and each year the board makes a decision on how much it can return to members without reducing the cooperative’s financial strength.

Returns are applied directly to the member’s account if the amount is less than $15, or if the member has a past due balance. Members with returns greater than $15 and no past due accounts will receive a check in the mail in mid-December.

Since OTEC first began retiring capital credits in 1996, according to the press release, the co-op has returned $49 million to its member-owners. Nonprofit cooperatives such as OTEC allocate and periodically return those funds back to the member-owners rather than to stockholders, as investor-owned utilities do.

OTEC also encouraged members who may be leaving to provide it with a mailing address for the return of capital credits.

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