The Cooperative Difference

At our Cooperative, members are a part of something special. Our members collectively own Sioux Valley Energy and enjoy several benefits unique to cooperatives. Capital credits are fundamental to the cooperative business model and a financial benefit our members enjoy.

Because SVE is a not-for-profit cooperative, owned by its members, it doesn’t technically earn profits. If revenues exceed expenses, the co-op earns “margins.” Each year, margins are assigned to you, as capital credits, in proportion to the amount you are billed for electricity during that year. These “capital credits” reflect your ownership in SVE but are not automatically returned to you. The Cooperative uses capital credits to fund operating activities and reduce borrowing, with the intent of paying this capital to you in later years.

After reviewing the Cooperative’s finances each year, the Board of Directors determines whether a portion of capital credits can be retired, or paid, to members. The Board also evaluates the method, basis, priority, and timing of all capital credit retirements. Because capital credits are based on the dollar amount of electricity a member purchases, the retirement amount will vary from member to member and from year to year.

Capital Credits Lookup

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Do You Know These People?

The Returned Capital Credit Check List contains the names of former cooperative members whose capital credit check has been returned or has not been cashed.  If you know anyone on this list, please tell them to contact us so we can ensure they receive the capital credits they've earned.

2022 Capital Credits Returned Check Listing   2021 Capital Credits Returned Check Listing

Helpful Definitions

As a recipient of electrical service from SVE, you are more than a customer, you are a member-owner.

The cost to build, maintain, and repair the electric system (poles, wires, substations, etc.).

At the end of the year, SVE subtracts operating expenses from the operating revenue collected and the balance is called operating margins, or simply margins.

When margins are assigned to an individual’s capital credit account.

At Sioux Valley Energy, your annual patronage is the amount of money you paid for electricity that year.

A payout from your capital credit account.

Estate Requirements

If you are a family member of a current or former member who has passed away, you and remaining heirs may be eligible to receive a discounted payment as an Estate Retirement (“natural person” only; not business).

The Application for Descendent Patron's Capital Credits needs to be completed, notarized and returned to our office with the supporting documents. One of the following is necessary:

  • If you are the court-appointed administrator: application form completed, signed and notarized, and a copy of personal representative document (note: a trust is not a legal representative of an estate - and neither is a copy of a will)
  • If you are the spouse: application form completed, signed and notarized, and a copy of the death certificate
  • If you are the deceased member’s child/children: application form completed by proposed payee, signed and notarized, all heirs need to sign on the bottom back of the application (do not need notary on these), and a copy of the death certificate
  • If none of the above apply: application form completed and notarized by proposed payee, a copy of the death certificate and a “small estate affidavit” must be filled out and notarized (this certifies that you are entitled to make the claim for payment). A copy of the small estate affidavit is available upon request.

Note: Attach a copy of the POA (Power of Attorney) papers only if you are signing on behalf of the person requesting the payout. POA papers are not a document to be used in lieu of Personal Representative Papers or a death certificate.

When we have the completed application and supporting documents it will be presented at the next scheduled Board of Directors’ meeting for approval and subsequent payment. If you have any questions please feel free to call Jody or Toni at 800-234-1960 or email


Early Retirement

Capital Credits may be early retired if an active member leaves our service territory with an allocation value of $1,000 or less on their account. The capital credits will be paid out at present value and a credit will be applied to the final bill with any excess mailed to the address on file.

Capital Credits FAQs

The Cooperative's Bylaws serve as a guide for capital credits allocations and retirements. If you have questions about the capital credits allocated to your account, you can call us toll-free at 1-800-234-1960 and someone will be happy to answer your questions.

The amount of capital credits you earn in a given year is based on the amount of capital you contribute to the Cooperative through payment of your monthly electric bills and the amount of operating margins realized by the Cooperative.

No, each member’s distribution varies based on the dollar amount of electricity a member purchased.

Capital credits are calculated based on the amount you are billed for electricity. If you are billed for service for even one month, you will accumulate some capital credits if SVE earned margins during the year.

Your membership in SVE automatically activates your capital credits account. SVE allocates and retires capital credits for you and provides you with notice of these processes.

You should receive an allocation notice annually after the financials for the previous year have been audited and the Cooperative’s books have been closed.

Allocated capital credits appear as an entry on the permanent financial records of the Cooperative and reflect your investment in SVE. When capital credits are retired, a check or bill credit is issued to you, and your ownership in the Cooperative is reduced. After reviewing the Cooperative’s finances, the Board of Directors determines the method, basis, priority, and timing of all capital credits retirements.

Cumulative capital credits allocations are simply a record of your ownership in the Cooperative. Because the capital is not held in an account and is reinvested to support operating activities, the entire balance cannot be retired to you at once.

Because capital credits have no cash value until the Board of Directors calls for the retirement of a previous year’s allocated capital credits, they can’t be used to pay your current bill. Your electric bill is due now, but you may not be entitled to receive your capital credits for many years.

Your capital credits remain on the books in your name and account number until they are retired. Because payments are made years after capital credits have been allocated, you should be sure that we always have your current mailing address. We may retire capital credits, outside the normal schedule for retirements, when the Co-op receives proper notification that a member or former member is deceased. Contact a member service representative at 1-877-511-8062 to update your address.

When determined by the Board of Directors, capital credits will be retired to the following groups:

  1. The estates of deceased members.
  2. The oldest outstanding year(s) that have not yet been retired.
  3. The most recent year(s) that have been allocated.

In order to limit the administrative costs related to distributing capital credits, SVE does not automatically send checks to former members with a capital credits distribution of less than $25. Those credits will remain on SVE’s books as unissued capital credits. Former members with additional allocations will receive a capital credits check once the allocation increases the distribution total to $25 or greater.

When SVE receives proper documentation to settle the estate of a current or former member who has passed away, the Co‐op will distribute capital credits in accordance with our Capital Credits Policy. SVE discounts the value of these credits using the present value of each year’s distribution compared to the expected payout of 25 years from when the capital credits were accumulated.

Yes, if your capital credits distribution bill credit is larger than the total of your December bill, any remaining credits will roll over onto your January bill.

No, all current members are receiving their distributions as bill credits. SVE is committed to pursuing the most cost-effective business practices. The Cooperative saves a considerable amount of money by distributing capital credits as bill credits as opposed to the expense of printing and mailing checks to more than 28,000 current members.

Prepaid members who had electric service through SVE in the years that are retired receiving a credit will see the reflection on their balance during the first week of December.