Berkeley Electric to return $5M in capital credits as pandemic relief

MONCKS CORNER (JUNE 2, 2020) – The Berkeley Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees unanimously approved returning $5 million in capital credits to its members at its May 26 meeting.

The cooperative normally distributes capital credits at the end of the calendar year. The board is returning the funds now to help members who are experiencing a financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A majority of the capital credits will go to cooperative members who had service in 2019.

“We want to help the most members possible with this capital credit refund, and our current members are the ones under the most economic pressure because of the coronavirus,” said Dwayne Cartwright, president and CEO of Berkeley Electric.

This early payout of capital credits is the second infusion of financial assistance the cooperative has provided during the pandemic. In March, Berkeley Electric refunded more than $4.8 million in security deposits to its residential members.

The homes and businesses that are served by Berkeley Electric are member-owners of the cooperative. Unlike investor-owned utilities that generate profits on behalf of shareholders, not-for-profit electric cooperatives return any margins to their members.

Capital credits are the margins that the cooperative realizes each year. The cooperative’s margin is any money left after all operating expenses have been paid.

The amount of a member’s capital credit refund is based on the amount of electricity used during designated patronage years. For this distribution, Berkeley Electric members receiving a refund of $30 or less will receive a credit on their account. Members on traditional billing who have a past-due balance of more than 60 days or members on prepaid metering who are carrying a balance will also receive a bill credit.

Refunds of more than $30 will be issued as a check and mailed to the member. The refunds will be distributed to members in the coming weeks.

The largest electric cooperative in South Carolina, Berkeley Electric serves more than 100,000 meters and more than 80,000 member-owners living in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties.