Benton REA Pays Back $1.75 Million to Members

A man and woman lean on the kitchen countertop looking at an i pad the man is holding

Benton REA will pay back more than $1.75 million in ownership credits this summer. This amount is shared among more than 17,400 active and inactive members.

People and businesses that receive electricity from Benton REA are members and owners of the cooperative. All utilities have margins, but only electric cooperatives like Benton REA allocate and pay them back to member-owners.

A share of $715,750 will be paid to members based on their current percentage of equity. An additional $1,038,872.78 will fully pay the ownership credits from 1992 and 1993.

“Ownership credits are a unique benefit of belonging to a cooperative,” says Benton REA’s General Manager Mike Bradshaw. “Earned credits remain yours even if you no longer receive electricity from Benton REA.”

The Benton REA Board of Trustees recently approved the payment of ownership credits to be distributed by each member’s preferred method—check, electric bill credit, donation to the Power to Care bill assistance program or donation to the Education Fund.

38 members chose to donate their ownership credit payments to the Education Fund, giving $1,147.46 towards scholarships, the Youth Tour to Washington, D.C., electrical safety demonstrations and member education resources and classes.

177 members gave a total of $5,345.62 to Benton REA’s Power to Care bill assistance program. Power to Care helps qualifying low-income members pay their past-due electric bills.

Many members chose to receive their payment as a credit on their August electric statement and most members who receive a payment this year will receive a check in the mail later this month.

Since its formation in 1937, Benton REA has paid back more than $17.2 million in ownership credits to member-owners.

2020 Allocations (Accrual of Ownership Credits)

Members who purchased electricity from Benton REA in 2020 were allocated their portion of the Benton REA 2020 margins.

Benton REA is a cooperative, and like all businesses the price of the electricity sold to members contains a margin in addition to the cost of the product. Unlike for-profit businesses, cooperatives do not keep their profit margins. Instead, cooperatives keep track of the margins each member contributes. When the financial condition of Benton REA warrants it, the Board of Trustees authorizes Benton REA staff to issue payments of some or all of the margins that members have contributed by purchasing electricity.

Allocations—members’ accrual of ownership credits—are not cash, but are your equity share in the cooperative. These are allocated based on the amount of electricity bought during the year. While it may take several years, Benton REA will pay all of your ownership credits back to its members.

Benton REA members should check their mailbox in August for their 2020 allocation notice and/or 2021 ownership credits payment or donation notice.

For more information and to watch a video about about ownership credits, visit

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