MY MEMBER BENEFITS
You are a member
At Coast Electric, you are more than just a customer who receives electric service. You are a consumer and a member of our cooperative. We were built by and are led by members just like you. For our business to function properly, we need your participation. We want you to be active members who attend meetings and give us feedback about your cooperative. When you talk, we listen. For us, serving you is about providing affordable, reliable electric service but it's also much more. It's making decisions that are best for you. It's giving back to the communities we serve. It's about improving life for you. You are a member, we are a cooperative.
The Cooperative Difference
For more than 80 years, Coast Electric has provided excellent service to its members. Your cooperative began in a little church on Highway 43 near Picayune. It was there, at Aaron Academy, that families and friends witnessed the coming of electricity to southern Mississippi. It was there that Coast Electric Power Association brought a chance for growth, prosperity and a new way of life for the people of rural Hancock, Harrison and Pearl River counties. Coast Electric Power Association is a not-for-profit cooperative that was founded and is led by the people it serves. As a cooperative, we operate by the seven cooperative principles.
Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the general membership. In primary cooperatives, members have equal voting rights – one member, one vote.
Members contribute to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing the cooperative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their cooperative autonomy.
Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders – about the nature and benefits of cooperation.
Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.
Member-owned cooperatives are not-for-profit organizations which are operated for the benefit of their members. Members should always consult their bylaws which control how capital credits are calculated and handled by Coast Electric. In general, if there are revenues from electric services in excess of operating costs and expenses, those funds are credited to a member’s capital account based on their patronage. Such funds, which are also called ‘capital credits,’ are the life blood that enables cooperatives to satisfy the future growth and power needs of its members. Capital credits represent a critical source of equity for Coast Electric. Since a cooperative’s members are also the people it serves, capital credits reflect each member’s ownership in, and contribution of capital to, the cooperative.
Each member is allocated capital credits based on how much energy the member obtains from the cooperative. The more energy a member purchases, the greater the amount of capital credit allocated to the member’s account. At the end of each year, we subtract operating costs and expenses from operating revenue collected during the year. This difference is called margins, which are allocated to the members on the basis of patronage.
When the board retires capital credits, they are mailed in the form of a check to a member’s last known address based on how much power they have purchased from the cooperative. This is why it is important for you to always keep Coast Electric informed of your current address.
Capital credits allocated to Coast Electric members always belong to that member, even if they move outside of the co-op’s service area or pass away. There are two options for Coast Electric members who move outside of the service area, and for the families of members who have passed away.
Option 1 – Former members – those who have passed away or who have moved outside of Coast Electric’s service area with inactive accounts still receive capital credit retirements until the balance is completely refunded.
Option 2 – Former members now living outside of the service area, or the estates of deceased members, may request an early retirement of their allocated capital credits. An early retirement would offer a one-time payment of capital credits associated with the account on a net-present-value basis, less any bad debt that needs to be collected.
For inactive members who would like to have their capital credits paid early, the following items will need to be completed and notarized:
- Application for early capital credit retirement OR Early capital credit retirement request for the estates of deceased members
- If applicable, a copy of appointment of personal representative (i.e. will and/or any other documents deemed necessary)
- A W-9 may be required for refunds. (www.irs.gov)
- All electric accounts for the member must be closed prior to the year early retirement is being requested. If you choose not to take advantage of this one-time payment, any future payments will be paid according to Coast Electric’s current policies. If you have any further questions, please call 877-769-2372 or send an email to email@example.com.
Coast Electric has a Board of Directors that has been elected by the members. The board members are all members of the cooperative and motivated by a desire to maintain reliable service at a fair rate. The board decides how to use the capital provided by the members and the amount, if any, that may prudently be retired to members in a particular year. The amount retired to members depends upon the financial condition of the cooperative and its strategic plan for growth and operations. This will obviously vary according to each year’s particular financial and operational situation.
Coast Electric has paid more than $61 million in capital credit retirements to current and former members by the end of 2018.
Any member who has purchased electricity from Coast Electric during the time period being retired is eligible to receive a capital credit check. The minimum retirement check that will be mailed to members is $10. If your retirement is under the $10 minimum, your capital credit will remain in your account until your retired balance exceeds $10. At that point, a check will be distributed during the next retirement period. If you have questions about your capital credit account, you may log on to your account at www.coastepa.com, call 877-769-2372 to inquire or visit one of our local offices.
At Coast Electric, when our members talk, we listen. In the past few years, you have expressed the desire for more renewable energy resources. Cooperative Energy, the cooperative that generates energy for Coast Electric and other co-ops throughout the state, has enhanced its portfolio of renewables, especially in the area of solar energy. Besides having a small solar system outside at our Kiln headquarters facility, there is now a 540-acre solar facility that serves co-op members in south Mississippi.
Learn more about Cooperative Energy's renewable resources and make sure to click the button below to find out about Coast Electric's Cooperative Solar program.