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.
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.
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 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.