Patronage Capital

Unclaimed Capital Credits

View the 2020 Unclaimed Capital Credits (PDF).


What is Patronage Capital?

A cooperative is an enterprise that is collectively owned and operated for mutual benefit. Cooperatives are owned by the people they serve with their services provided at cost. After paying operating expenses, all remaining margins are allocated to members based on revenue received for service. These margins are called patronage capital and represent the members’ equity in the cooperative.

Reinvest Margins

Electric cooperatives do not have stockholders and they do not pay dividends. Upon application, members agree to reinvest their margins into the cooperative to retire old debt, purchase new equipment, maintain adequate reserves for emergencies such as widespread storm damage, and return patronage refunds to the members. By using member-owned margins, your cooperative is able to avoid borrowing money at high-interest rates.

Refund Schedule

Patronage capital refunds are made to current and former cooperative members, although the schedule and payment methods can vary from year to year. We encourage you to watch your monthly newsletters for news on the next refund. If you have immediate questions about patronage capital allocation notices or refunds, call us at (800) 286-5636 or (417) 682-5636.


Patronage Capital Estates

Barton County Electric Cooperative (BCEC) allows the beneficiaries of a cooperative member’s estate to get a settlement of the deceased member’s patronage capital account. Continue to receive refunds on a yearly basis in the same manner as the remaining members of the Cooperative, through the general refund program.


Patronage Capital Program

  1. Co-op member flips the lights on and uses the electricity provided by BCEC
  2. BCEC members pay electric bills January through December
  3. BCEC computer tracks energy use and the patronage revenue (money) received for each account
  4. Calendar year ends in December
  5. BCEC staff members complete final year-end bookwork, co-op books are audited, and final financial obligations met
  6. Income received over and above expenses (margin) is determined
  7. Board of directors approves excess revenue (margins) to be allocated to members as patronage capital
  8. Patronage capital allocations are printed on the members electric bills in the spring
  9. Patronage capital is distributed to qualifying BCEC members. Each year, the board of directors evaluates the financial condition of the cooperative and determines the amount and method of issuing patronage capital to members.