CEO’s Message – April 2022

Giving Money Back to Our Members

Headshot of Clay FitchFrom frequent flyer miles to fuel points, more and more businesses are implementing programs to reward customers for their loyalty. Wells Rural Electric Company (WREC) has provided similar benefits to our members for at least six decades. You don’t need to swipe a rewards card or enter your phone number— capital credits are accrued every time you pay your bill.

Despite all the challenges that many businesses—including Wells Rural Electric Company—faced these past couple of years, we have good news for our members.

First, WREC hires an accounting firm to conduct an independent audit every year. This year’s audit again confirmed that WREC continues to be well-managed and financially sound. The annual audit assures you that revenues and expenses are appropriate, transparent, in compliance with approved budgets and accurately recorded.

Second, like most businesses, we subtract expenses from revenues at the end of the year to determine if there is a margin. Since WREC ended 2021 with a positive margin, we will allocate those dollars back to you as capital credits. Allocation notices will be sent to all current members in August.

Third, based on that positive margin and a flawless audit, I am pleased to report your board of directors voted at their March meeting to return $621,428 to members through capital credit checks. Most of our members should receive a capital credit check refunding a portion of their allocations in early May.

If you, or someone you know, has not received a capital credit check by the middle of May, it is likely for one of two reasons: your refund does not yet total $10, or WREC does not have a current mailing address. Please contact your local office if you believe you should have received a capital credit check.

Fourth, for many years, WREC and 133 other consumer-owned utilities who buy wholesale power from Bonneville Power Administration have lobbied for sound financial policies and cost control. BPA has responded, and you have benefitted from stable electricity rates. WREC has not had to increase rates for five years because we have controlled costs at the retail level, and BPA has controlled costs at the wholesale level.

Lastly, in addition to stable, affordable rates for reliable, clean energy, BPA ended 2021 with funds in excess of its financial reserves requirement. WREC’s wholesale power costs were also less than expected. As a not-for-profit cooperative, WREC believes our members should benefit from those cost savings, and your board of directors voted to return those funds to you as well. Beginning in April, a “Power Cost Adjustment” line item on your monthly bill will give you credit for your portion of those savings based on your energy consumption. The Power Cost Adjustment credit will appear on your bill for the next seven months.

These refunds reflect the value of being a member of a not-for-profit, locally-controlled cooperative. We are pleased these funds will help families and our local economy during these challenging times.

Clay R. Fitch, CEO