Southwestern Electric Announces New Approach to Returning Member Capital at 85th Annual Meeting


Published on September 19 2023 9:29 am
Last Updated on September 19 2023 9:29 am
Written by Greg Sapp

Southwestern Electric Cooperative's board of directors has updated a decades-old approach to returning member capital. Co-op members heard about the policy changes at the annual meeting held in Vandalia earlier this month.

Board President Ann Schwarm explained that the cooperative's rates are designed to bring in enough money to pay operating costs and maintain an emergency reserve. When revenues exceed expenses, that money is later returned to members as capital credits. 

Equity in the co-op is used as operating capital for maintenance and improvements, such as new substations, poles and wire. Those improvements are expected to last 30 years.

Beginning January 1, 2024, co-op members may apply for an adjusted early payout of capital credits if they're terminating their membership or if they're the executor of an estate with capital credits.

Schwarm also spoke about the cooperative's Power for Progress Scholarship Program. Since 1995, Southwestern has awarded more than 400 Power for Progress to area students.

In March, Southwestern sent six high school students to Springfield to tour the Capitol, meet with legislators and explore their interest in government as part of Illinois Electric and Telephone Cooperative Youth Day. In June, two of those students...Boston Hails of St. Peter and Kylie Ketcham of Alhambra...represented Southwestern Electric in Washington, DC, where they joined 1,800 students and chaperones to learn about government during the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association's Electric Cooperative Youth Tour.

Southwestern's annual meeting marked the end of Schwarm's last term as president. She will continue to serve as a director.

Southwestern CEO Bobby Williams reported, "In Fayette and Effingham counties, our Vandalia substation and expanded Altamont sub are improving reliability and power quality for homes and businesses in our eastern district."

Southwestern members elected one member from each of the cooperative's three voting districts. In District III, incumbent Annette Hartleib of Vandalia ran unopposed and was elected by acclamation. Each director serves a three-year term on the board.

Based in Greenville, Southwestern Electric Cooperative is a not-for-profit, member-owned utility serving 24,000 residential, commercial, agricultural and industrial members in 11 counties along the I-70 corridor between St. Louis and Effingham.