Southside Electric Cooperative, whose service area includes Bedford County near Smith Mountain Lake, announced that members will soon receive a financial benefit due to their board of directors’ unanimous vote on Aug. 20 to return $3.5 million in capital credits.

This amount is the second-highest refund in the Cooperative’s history.

“These are difficult times for everyone,” said SEC Board Chairman Dr. Frank Bacon. “At SEC, our purpose is to serve our members’ electrical needs, yet when we have the opportunity to return as much as possible to members and the Cooperative community through capital credits, we are eager to do so, especially given today’s COVID-19 challenges. Fulfilling this opportunity is the power of cooperatives to make a powerful difference for members and communities.”

SEC is a not-for-profit, member-owned electric Cooperative that serves more than 57,000 homes, farms and businesses. Each year after operating expenses have been determined and paid, any remaining funds are returned to member-owners based on the amount they were billed during the previous year. The return of funds, also known as retirement, is made after a financial audit by an independent public accounting firm. Much of the returnable capital credits is based on SEC’s prudent financial operations and member commitment.

“Being able to return a significant amount of capital credits represents SEC’s commitment to operating a financially solid electric Cooperative,” said SEC President and CEO Jeff Edwards. “Just as we are committed to keeping the lights on and the power flowing, we are also committed to returning to our member-owners a portion of what they have paid the Cooperative for their electricity. We thank our board of directors for ensuring that SEC operates a financially strong Cooperative and their support of this significant financial distribution.”

Members can expect to receive their allocations in time for the holidays. In November, members receiving less than $25 will be issued credits on their monthly bills. Members with refunds equal to or above $25 will receive checks through the mail.

Over the past 37 years, SEC will have returned a total of $62.1 million to its membership, which includes $14 million in just the last five years. Any revenues SEC earns over and above the cost of providing safe and reliable electric service are considered margins, which represent the members’ equity in the Cooperative. SEC finances its yearly operations using this equity, with the intent to return funds to members in a timely manner, and as the Cooperative is financially able to do so.

SEC members who may be leaving the Cooperative are encouraged to provide SEC with a current mailing address so that capital credits can be returned as they are retired. 

Headquartered in Crewe, SEC has district offices in Altavista, Crewe, Dinwiddie and Powhatan. SEC serves members in portions of 18 counties in central and southern Virginia. For more information, visit

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