Time to exercise your rights as a member

There’s a lot to love about October – cooler weather (finally), football games, local festivals and beautiful fall foliage.

Baldwin EMC’s members have a couple of other reasons to love this time of year, and as chief executive officer of this co-op, I love getting to share this story.

Cooperatives are different than other types of businesses. You’ve heard us tell you that many, many times before. But since electricity itself doesn’t change based on the company you get it from, it might be easy to forget what makes your cooperative membership special. Over the next couple of months, you’ll get two big reminders of how we operate differently.

Once a year, Baldwin EMC’s board of trustees reviews the financial status of the cooperative. If that condition is favorable, the board may decide to retire a portion of the capital credits, that have been held in reserve from past years. Refund checks are then issued to anyone who was a member in the years designated for retirement.

Within the next few weeks, Baldwin EMC will begin issuing capital credit refund checks. Capital credits are the margins left over at the end of the year for Baldwin EMC. They are our most significant source of equity and represent each member’s ownership in the cooperative. You can think of them in the same way as the dividends that investor-owned companies pay their shareholders.

The difference is that our shareholders are our members, and our “dividends” go back to you. That’s your right as a member, instead of just a customer of Baldwin EMC.

In addition to this, if you haven’t already, pretty soon you’ll be seeing an annual meeting packet in your mailbox. Contained within it is your opportunity to exercise your right to democratic control of your cooperative. Please review the nominees for positions on the board of trustees and cast your vote. Also part of the annual meeting packet is the 2018 annual report, which details the highlights, growth and financial reports of 2018. We take our obligation to “keep you in the loop” of what’s happening at your cooperative seriously, and the annual report, along with our other publications, like this Alabama Living magazine, support our commitment to communication with you.

If you ever have any questions about your rights as a member, please don’t hesitate to call us. You can also learn more about the power of your cooperative membership at www.baldwinemc.com or by plugging into our social media channels: Facebook (www.facebook.com/BaldwinEMC), Twitter (@BaldwinEMC) or Instagram (@baldwinemc).

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