October is National Cooperative Month

You might think of Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA) as the local electric company, and you’d be right: We’re led by members like you, created by and for the communities we serve. Electric cooperatives are community-focused organizations that work to deliver affordable, reliable and sustainable energy to our members.

October is National Cooperative Month – a time to celebrate the cooperative spirit that’s always been one of the best things about living in our communities. Neighbors looking out for neighbors. People working for the common good. Even as we celebrate our differences and our individual achievements, we know that we can’t do everything alone—we’re all in this together, and we are stronger and better for it. The power of community is what being an electric cooperative is all about.

Follow GVEA’s Facebook page throughout the month of October as we highlight the many benefits of being part of a co-op, but we’ like to highlight 2 of these benefits here: the Member Advisory Committee and Capital Credits. Read on to learn more!


The Member Advisory Committee welcomes new members

MAC members enjoy a tour of GVEA’s BESS (Battery Energy Storage System).

Golden Valley Electric Association welcomed new members to the Member Advisory Committee (MAC) following approval from the GVEA Board of Directors at the September 27 board meeting. The function and purpose of the MAC is to inform the board of directors regarding issues and concerns of GVEA’s membership or to work on special projects assigned by the board. The committee is made up of members from each of GVEA’s service areas and meets once a month to hear presentations from GVEA staff on major projects. GVEA is excited to welcome new and returning MAC members to another year of informative meetings.

2022 to 2023 MAC Members

  • Herbert Butler
  • Alison Carter
  • Marcus Chappel
  • Carol Colp
  • Jane Gibson*
  • Peter Hallgren*
  • Jamie Hansen
  • Anita Hartmann
  • Katherine Hennigan
  • Terry Hinman
  • Russell Johnston
  • John Kelleher
  • Thomas Kelly*
  • Eric Lanser
  • Karen Lipari
  • Korene Long
  • Mathew Mund
  • Bobbie Ortiz
  • John Rathbun
  • Angela Ritchie
  • Richard Theilmann
  • Heidi Titchenal
  • Harmony Tomaszewski
  • Enlow Walker

*New to the MAC

Interested in Joining the Member Advisory Committee?

Applications to serve on the MAC are accepted each year in June and July. It’s a great way to get involved, find out more about your electric co-op and to provide valuable feedback.

The MAC is made up of 3 members from each of GVEA’s 7 geographic districts. MAC members:

  • Serve 3-year terms (beginning in September)
  • Meet monthly (typically on the second Wednesday)
  • Receive $60 per meeting, plus standard mileage rates for roundtrip travel

All GVEA members (except employees) are eligible to serve on the MAC. Visit our Member Advisory Committee page to learn more about the MAC, and eligibility requirements.

Capital Credits

3 stacks of coins with small plants growing from themWere you a GVEA member in 1997?

At the August 2022 regular board meeting, the decision was made to retire all capital credits from 1997 (and earlier), which totals $3.3 million. All refunds will be distributed by the end of November 2022.

The Benefits of Membership

Capital credits are one of the most unique and rewarding benefits you enjoy as a member of an electric cooperative. Golden Valley Electric returns funds to members based on their electric consumption.

One of the cooperative advantages is that we provide our members with “at cost” service. Other utilities, such as investor-owned utilities, maximize profits from customers for the purpose of paying dividends to their stockholders. At GVEA, there is no stock to be purchased or sold – our members are the owners of the business.

Because GVEA is a not-for-profit cooperative, any funds left over at the end of the year are eventually returned to members after 25 years. These funds are called capital credits.

Capital credits are only assigned for a year in which GVEA earns margins. Since capital credits are a member’s share of the margins, no credits are assigned for a year with no margins. Also, you would not earn capital credits for any year that you did not purchase electricity from GVEA. The amount of your capital credits varies from year to year, depending on margins and how much electricity you bought in a given year.

Allocation vs Retirement

Assigned capital credits are the amounts allocated to each member who purchased electricity from GVEA during a given year.

While the credits are assigned to members, they are retained by the co-op for a period of time – currently 25 years. They are reinvested in the system for projects and maintenance, such as building substations or replacing power lines.

If we refunded the total amount of allocations, we would have to borrow that amount of money and repay it with interest. This is because we operate “at cost” and there are no profits to take these funds from.

Retirement of capital credits is not automatic. GVEA’s board of directors must specifically authorize each retirement after considering the financial impact to the co-op.

When capital credits are retired, GVEA issues a refund to you.

GVEA would like to request your assistance to ensure your refund check makes it to you.

  • If you are currently a member and receive mail from GVEA, you’re all set; no further action is needed.
  • If you were a member in 1997 but no longer receive service and are unsure of the mailing address we have on file, please contact GVEA at your earliest convenience.

There are a variety of ways to contact GVEA’s Capital Credits Section: