DEFUNIAK SPRINGS — Choctawhatchee Electric Cooperative customers who had accounts with the member-owned utility in 2017 will receive a bill credit or check in April, according to a CHELCO press release.

Each year after CHELCO pays its expenses, margin funds remain on its ledger. These margins are allocated to each person who was a member during that year in the form of capital credits. The amount of capital credit received by individual customers varies, according to the amount of business that member did with CHELCO.

This year, CHELCO’s board of trustees approved a special retirement of capital credits totaling more than $1.5 million because 2017 margins were greater than anticipated. CHELCO’s cost-saving measures and member participation in cost-savings programs such as Beat the Peak and Switch-to-Save generated the larger than expected margins, according to the release.

Normally, capital credits are used to build and replace electrical facilities and are not returned to members immediately. Under normal circumstances, the board acts in November to retire capital credits from a recent year and 20 years ago.

CHELCO members who have capital credit less than $25 will receive a bill credit. Those whose capital credit is $25 or greater will receive a check. More than 45,500 members will receive money back from CHELCO, according to the news release. CHELCO serves more than 56,000 accounts in Walton, Okaloosa, Holmes and Santa Rosa counties.

Members whose billing statements were processed before April 13 will not see the credit reflected in their statement. They will, however,  find their amount due less than expected if they pay online, by kiosk or in person. The credited amount will appear on their statement due for payment in May.

Members with questions about their capital credit can call CHELCO's information line at 850-892-0733.