Capital Credits

In a co-op, every member gets a piece of the pie!

Are you a past member of MVEA? You may have a capital credits retirement distribution waiting for you! Use our search function to find out: Unclaimed Capital Credits Retirement Distributions.

At Mountain View Electric Association, you are more than a customer, you are both a member and an owner of the cooperative. You vote for your Board of Directors, participate in your Annual Meeting of Members and when MVEA’s cost of doing business is accounted for, you share in the financial prosperity through the allocation and retirement of capital credits. It’s an aspect of being a co-op member that is unique: when financial conditions allow, every member of an electric co-op gets a piece of the pie

If a member is deceased, the legal representative for that member may apply for the capital credits. The capital credits can be distributed over the normal course of retirement or in a discounted lump-sum payment. The following documents are required to apply for capital credits:

  • Document that appoints a personal representative.

What are Capital Credits?

Electric cooperatives aren’t like other utilities. We operate at cost— collecting enough revenue to run the co-op, without the demand to generate profits like large investor-owned corporations. We are a not-for-profit business, which means we’re working solely for you to provide safe and reliable electricity. MVEA’s rates and fees are set to generate revenue to cover operating costs, pay debts on construction loans, and provide an emergency financial reserve.

Revenues in excess of the cost of doing business are returned to MVEA members as patronage capital, or capital credits as they are commonly called. Since we do not earn a profit, any excess revenues (net margins) that remain once all expenses have been paid for the year are divided between all MVEA members as capital credits. Capital credits represent your investment in MVEA — your piece of the co-op pie.

Capital Credits Allocation vs. Retirement

As a member of MVEA, you receive a capital credits allocation every year. Net margins, the difference between MVEA’s income and its expenses, are “allocated” or assigned to members who belong to the cooperative during the year in which a net margin is generated. An allocation is your share of the net margins MVEA sets aside into a separate account with your name on it to be used as operating capital for reliability improvements and maintenance over a period of years. Capital credits allocation notices are provided on your billing statement annually.

A retirement is the amount of cash you receive back from your capital credits allocation. The amount retired is decided annually by the MVEA Board of Directors. After a number of years, if financial conditions permit and MVEA’s mortgage requirements and bylaw provisions are met, the Board may decide to retire a set amount of capital credits to its member-owners.

When MVEA’s Board of Directors retire capital credits, checks are mailed in December to members with a capital credits retirement over $10. For those with a capital credits retirement under $10, the amount is held until the total cash value of the retirement is greater than $10 or until the final payment will close out your account. Dedication to fiscally responsible planning and business practices has enabled MVEA to retire over $78 million in capital credits to our members since our first retirement.

Allocating and retiring excess revenue to members through capital credits helps distinguish electric cooperatives from for-profit utilities. We’re proud to support our communities by putting money back into the local economy—and into the pockets of our members. It makes our business model distinctive. It is your investment in the electric co-op, at work for you. The allocation and retirement of capital credits is one of the most unique and rewarding benefits of being a member of an electric cooperative. It is your investment, at work for you.

On the Move? Don’t Miss Out! Keep Your Address Current.

Since 2013, MVEA’s Board has used a hybrid first-in, first-out (FIFO) 80 percent with a last-in, first-out (LIFO) 20 percent capital credits retirement system to increase the number of checks issued to members. Prior to 2013, capital credits were retired (paid) approximately 15-20 years after being allocated. Whether you live near or far when your allocated capital credits are retired, they remain yours and a check will be issued to you.

One of the problems MVEA has is finding people that have moved and not left forwarding addresses so we can mail future capital credits checks to them. Many people will move several times after leaving MVEA and don’t think to update their new address. We mail capital credits checks to the last known address. If it is returned by the post office, former member names are listed on our website. If the money goes unclaimed for six years, it is returned to MVEA.

Don’t let that happen to your share of the cooperative! If you move outside of MVEA’s service territory, please be sure to provide us with your new mailing address every time you move to ensure the delivery of future checks. If you have any questions on capital credits or want to check to see if we have unclaimed capital credits in your name, you can use the search engine here, call an MVEA office or email to

Are you a past member of MVEA? You may have a capital credits retirement distribution waiting for you!  Use our search function to find out!