Posted: 10/6/2023

Empowering Our Community: Eau Claire Energy Cooperative is Celebrating Cooperative Month by Returning Capital Credits!

October is Cooperative Month! We are celebrating by retiring capital credits for both active and inactive members. On Friday, October 6, ECEC applied credits to active members bills and mailed checks to inactive members. If you received a capital credit check in your name or a credit on your monthly billing statement, you were entitled to those funds due to usage you have had with ECEC. See below for an example of both a capital credit check and a credit on your monthly billing statement.


Frequently Asked Questions:

  • What Are Capital Credits? Capital credits are a unique financial benefit of being a member of Eau Claire Energy Cooperative. As you pay your monthly electric bills, Eau Claire Energy Cooperative uses funds to grow, operate, and maintain a safe and reliable electrical system. Any money received over and above the cost of doing business is called margins. Your portion of the margins is then returned to you in the form of capital credits. They represent your ownership stake in the cooperative. When you become a member and pay your electric bill, you are essentially investing in the cooperative. These investments, or capital credits, are allocated to members annually based on their usage of electricity and the cooperative’s financial performance. Being a member of ECEC means these credits go back to you, our members, instead of to a group of shareholders. That is the cooperative difference!

  • Why Are Capital Credits Important? Community Ownership: Unlike investor-owned utilities, cooperatives are owned and operated by the people they serve—the members. Capital credits reflect this ownership, giving members a say in how the board of directors is elected. This democratic structure ensures that decisions made by the cooperative align with the community’s needs and values. Stability and Affordability: By retaining and reinvesting capital credits, cooperatives can maintain and upgrade their infrastructure, which, in turn, helps keep electricity rates stable and affordable for members. This also allows for more maintenance, meaning less outage time as well as more technology and communication for members.

  • How do I earn capital credits? You earn capital credits by being a member of an electric cooperative and paying your electric bills. The amount you earn is typically based on the amount of electricity you use and the cooperative’s financial performance for that year.

  • When will I receive my capital credits? Each year, capital credits are applied annually as a credit to your billing due in October. To view how much you got back in capital credits, view the upper right corner of your October bill. You can view your bill in your SmartHub account by visiting If you are an inactive member, checks will be issued each year in October for any inactive member who has more than $20 to be retired.

  • I didn't receive a check or a bill credit - If you did not receive a capital credit retirement, you are either are a new member in the last calendar year or your retirement amount wasn't enough to issue a check. Checks are issued to inactive members when their retirement amount totals more than $20. Each year that capital credits are retired, they are added to a bank. Once that back reaches the $20, a check will be issued.

  • My Check was sent to the wrong address. How to I correct this? If your check was sent to the wrong address, you can update your contact information on our website at or by calling our office at 715-832-1603.

  • Can I get my capital credits paid out? Capital credits use a revolving system where the money is returned to you over time. This helps the cooperative maintain financial stability, which allows for reliability and affordability for all members. Members will receive an annual capital credit retirement applied as a bill credit in October of each year.

  • What happens to my capital credits if I move or no longer use the cooperative’s electrical services? Capital credits are associated with you and your membership and stay with you even if you move or no longer use the cooperative’s electrical services. Alternatively, you will receive your capital credits as checks until your funds are all retired. This is why it is important to keep your forwarding address up to date with ECEC, even after you move out of ECEC service territory. You can do this on our website by visiting

  • Are capital credits taxable? It’s advisable to consult a tax professional for guidance on reporting capital credit refunds on your income tax returns.