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Cooperative Energy Company returns over $2 million in dividends

SIBLEY, Iowa -- Cooperative Energy Company has exhibited what many consider exceptional operational growth over the past seven years that has rewarded Cooperative Energy Company patrons, residing in five counties in northwest Iowa and three counties in southwest Minnesota, with many different opportunities.

Some of that growth is now more visible and made tangible with the distribution of $2,289,562 in patronage refunds paid to member patrons for the fiscal year ending May 31, 2012. The quantitative dividend was announced to Cooperative Energy Company's patrons at the company's 2012 annual meeting Sept. 6 at Sibley-Ocheyedan High School.

"This is really exciting," CEC General Manager Brian Dreessen said. "It shows a growing commitment by our patrons to do business with their member-owned Cooperative Energy Company. It also exhibits the huge steps our managers and employees have taken to lower costs and improve investor profit.

"I appreciate the contributions that all of our CEC employees perform every day for our members," Dreessen added.

The dividends were distributed through a combination of cash and additional stock. Checks totaling $801,119, representing the cash portion of the dividend, were handed out at the Sept. 6 meeting. Those not able to attend that evening had their cash dividends mailed to them the next day.

The balance of $1,488,433 was credited to the members in the form of Cooperative Energy Company stock. "The patronage checks were made up of 68 percent Regional (CHS) patronage, with the balance coming from local earnings," Dreessen said.

Cooperative Energy Company members saw a patronage refund that averaged 20 percent return on their past year's gasoline, diesel, propane, merchandise and service purchases from their cooperative. The dividend consisted of 19½ cents per gallon on gas and fuel, 14 1/2 cents per gallon on propane, and a 25.5 percent refund on merchandise and services.

"But the dividends are just the beginning of the story," said Lesa Hommes, Cooperative Energy Company's Controller. "Profit not only allows for the payment of healthy dividends, it also assures operational capital the company needs to grow.

"These profits provide the necessary dollars to regularly update and expand Cooperative Energy Company facilities in the 12 communities we serve; to hire and support 45 full-time and 15 part-time employees across northwest Iowa and southwest Minnesota and to pay over $77,000 in property taxes each year," Hommes added. "Those are all locally reinvested dollars that turn over in each community a number of times, creating income for many families and businesses."

"It is the final price you pay for fuel and service that counts," Dreessen shared with those attending the annual meeting. "Cooperative Energy Company's exceptional dividends help reduce the final cost during a time when energy prices are high. Plus, we're talking about a quality product that you're receiving."