With the holidays lurking right around the corner, Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative is getting into the holiday spirit in a big way. The OTEC Board of Directors recently approved the retirement of $6 million in capital credits to the members of the cooperative, more than doubling last year’s $2.95 million.

“OTEC’s primary goal is to provide safe, reliable, competitively-priced power for our members, and we do an outstanding job,” OTEC General Manager and CEO Les Penning said. “Returning $6 million in capital credits to our members is icing on the cake and what sets OTEC apart from other electric utilities.”

The retirement continues a long history of OTEC returning capital credits to its members. Since 1996, OTEC has returned more than $39 million in capital credits to its members.

“The cooperative is happy once again to have a capital credit retirement and be able to return funds to our members,” said Anthony Bailey, OTEC’s chief operating officer. “Capital credits are an integral part of what makes a cooperative different from other businesses. We’re always glad to return funds to our member-owners.” Unlike investor-owned electric utilities, which distribute their profits to stockholders, OTEC is a non-profit electric cooperative. That means if the financial position of the cooperative allows, OTEC returns a portion of their capital credits back to members.

“We work hard to keep our rates as low as possible – continuously searching for ways to reduce operating costs and advocating on behalf of our members with the Bonneville Power Administration (our electric energy provider) to keep power costs down,” Bailey said.

Present members who have a capital credit distribution of $15 or more will be mailed a check in mid-December. Members with capital credit distributions of $14.99 or less, will receive a credit on their December bill.