Q: Most information published by Ouachita Electric Cooperative, Inc. refers to members. What persons or organizations are being referred to and what are the benefits and obligations of "membership"?
A: Each person or entity receiving electric service from Ouachita Electric Cooperative, Inc. is a member of Ouachita Electric Cooperative, Inc. This cooperative is a not-for-profit organization formed to provide services at cost to its members. Members of Ouachita pay competitive rates for electric service that generates a profit for the cooperative. These profits are retained and invested in plant and equipment necessary to provide service to members. When prudent financial considerations allow, previously retained profits are refunded to members by way of a capital credit retirement check. Rights and obligations of members arise from a contractual relationship detailed in Ouachita Electric Cooperative, Inc. Bylaws provided each member when application for electric service is made.
Q: How is Ouachita Electric Cooperative, Inc. different from investor owned utilities?
A: As mentioned above, Ouachita Electric Cooperative, Inc. is a not-for-profit cooperative organization, which means that all profits of Ouachita Electric Cooperative, Inc. accrue to the benefit of the members we serve, not stockholders. Additionally, control of Ouachita Electric Cooperative, Inc. is local; the members directly elect the Board of Directors, who themselves must be members of Ouachita Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Q: I sometimes receive a check from Ouachita Electric Cooperative, Inc. entitled "Capital Credit Refund". What does this check represent, how is the amount determined and may I expect to receive additional checks in the future.
A: As discussed above, the check represents a return of previously retained profits invested by Ouachita Electric Cooperative, Inc. in plant and equipment. The total amount, which may be refunded each year, is limited by lenders and plant and equipment need of Ouachita Electric Cooperative, Inc. Each member receives a share of the refund based on their usage for the year in which the profits were generated.
Q: What causes my lights to blink?
A: Most temporary power interruptions are caused by equipment on the power lines detecting faults in the electric current and correcting the condition resulting in a momentary interruption. These fault currents are often caused by trees or animals such as squirrels contacting lines. Ouachita Electric Cooperative, Inc. has an ongoing right-of-way program, trimming trees and brush to reduce the probability of momentary outages caused by tree contact with lines. If you are experiencing momentary interruptions with regularity, please contact your local office so that the cause of the interruptions can be investigated.
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