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Capital credits

It Pays to Be a Member

Capital Credits are a valuable benefit for members of electric cooperatives.

Capital Credits are a valuable benefit for members of electric cooperatives

You already know you are a member, not a customer, of DMEA. You are also an owner of the cooperative. DMEA is a not-for-profit corporation owned by the members it serves. We do not earn excess profits for investors and shareholders. Our rates are set at a level to recoup the costs of operating the cooperative, to meet debt obligations, and re-invest in the electric distribution system. Operating margins are created when our revenues exceed all of our operating expenses during the year.

These margins are allocated back to the members who purchased electricity during the year they were earned. The amount allocated back to you is dependent upon the amount of capital you contributed to the cooperative during the year. In other words, some of the money you paid to the cooperative for electric service during the year is allocated back to you as capital credits. The amount of capital put in by each member varies; therefore the amount of capital allocated back to each member varies. 

Although capital credits are allocated annually, those credits are retained for approximately 25 years before being paid to the members. DMEA retains capital credits because they are a significant source of equity for the cooperative. DMEA uses this equity to improve the electric infrastructure for reliability and expansion, as well as to help keep your rates low, because equity helps to reduce the amount of debt needed to grow and maintain the electric system.  

Check out our frequently asked capital credit questions below to learn more!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are capital credits?

Capital credits reflect each member’s ownership in the cooperative. Any margins related to the sale of electric service remaining after expenses have been paid are returned to the cooperative’s members in proportion to their electrical use.

Allocation of Capital Credits

An allocation is your share of the cooperative’s margin for a particular year. Allocations are based on your electric use for that year.

Retirement of Capital Credits

After capital credits are allocated, DMEA retains them for 25 years, as the most significant source of equity for the cooperative. Equity is used to help meet the infrastructure needs of the co-op, such as system improvements for reliability and expansion. Capital credits help keep rates affordable by reducing the amount of funds that must be borrowed to grow and maintain DMEA’s existing electric system.

Annually, the board of directors reviews DMEA's financial health and may declare a retirement, whereby a portion of your capital credits are returned to you.

What’s the difference between an allocation and a retirement?

Allocations are a proportional credit made to each member's account, while a retirement is payment of capital credits.

Can my capital credit allocation be applied to my current energy bill?

No. Your capital credit allocations for this year are new credits allocated to a capital credit account maintained in your name. Allocations are used as the operating capital of DMEA. They are not available as cash-in-hand until they are retired and paid back to you.

What happens to my capital credits if I move and terminate service with DMEA?

Your capital credits belong to you! Your existing capital credit balance will be maintained in a capital credit account in your name until it is retired (paid) in full. It is important that you maintain a correct mailing address with DMEA so you receive future capital credit payments.

What if I pass away before my capital credits are paid out?

Your capital credits will transfer to your estate. If the capital credits were allocated to a joint account, and one spouse dies, the surviving member may receive payment of the discounted capital credits, after completing the necessary paperwork. If you are the sole member, the discounted capital credits will be paid to your estate, after the necessary paperwork is received from your estate’s executor.

What if my family member passed away before capital credits are paid out?

DMEA’s Board of Directors will allow capital credits to be retired early or paid back to the legal representative(s) of your family member’s estate. To claim them, a notarized affidavit is required, along with a copy of the death certificate and personal representative appointment documentation (if one was appointed). Please contact DMEA at 877-687-3632 to get this process started. Capital credits that are claimed early due to the death of a family member are returned at a discounted rate.

Why can’t my capital credit allocations be refunded to me all at once?

Capital credit funds are used for long term investments, like reliability improvements and grid maintenance projects. Capital credit funds help DMEA remain financially sound, thereby ensuring stable, reliable electric service for all members.

When do you pay (or retire) capital credits?

In general, DMEA retires capital credits 25 years after the initial allocation. Before declaring a retirement, DMEA’s management and board of directors review DMEA’s financial health.

How can I update my mailing address so I receive any future capital credit refunds?

Members can send updated mailing information via email to or by calling 877-687-3632.

What does DMEA do with unclaimed capital credits?

DMEA seeks out former members who are due capital credits, even if they are no longer on our system. If the member does not claim them and the capital credits remain unclaimed for 3 years or more, they are transferred to a fund for charitable and educational purposes. This fund supports programs such as scholarships, sponsoring the Youth Tour to Washington D.C., and donations to Energy Outreach Colorado, an organization that helps people who are struggling with their energy bills.

Other capital credit questions?

If you have other capital credit questions, please call 877-687-3632 or send an email to