First Electric returns $7.189 million to members

The First Electric Cooperative Board of Directors approved a refund of $7.189 million to members this year.

Any revenue that is not needed to maintain the cost of providing service is assigned back to each First Electric member in the form of capital credits. Capital credit refunds are one of the major differences between a not-for-profit electric cooperative, such as First Electric, and an investor-owned electric company.

Capital credits are assigned to each account annually and refunded when financial conditions permit. How much members receive is based on how much electricity they used during the year or years that are being refunded.

This year’s calculation represents a complete retirement of 1985 and a portion of all years thereafter through 2011. Capital credit checks were mailed Dec. 10. Members whose refund was less than $20 received a credit on their December electric bill.

This refund of $7.189 million is the largest retirement on record for First Electric. Throughout First Electric’s 75-year history, more than $60.4 million has been refunded to members.

Denise Brown of Triple B Farms in Humnoke has been an electric cooperative member for 36 years and said she always is glad to see that capital credit refund check come in the mail.

“They do a really good job and keep us running,” Brown said of First Electric. “They’ve done a lot for rural Arkansas.”

First Electric serves more than 88,000 active accounts throughout 17 counties in central and southeast Arkansas. The cooperative is headquartered in Jacksonville and maintains full-service offices in Heber Springs, Benton, Perryville and Stuttgart. Details: Call 800-489-7405 or visit or