As a cooperative, San Miguel Power Association (SMPA) is owned by its members, and member dividends, also known as "capital credits", reflect each member’s ownership in the cooperative.
In a typical year, SMPA tries to collect slightly more than enough revenue to cover its expenses. The excess revenue, called “margins” is allocated to each consumer in proportion to their contributions for that year. For a period of time, this capital can be used by the cooperative to finance operations and construction. This helps keep rates at an affordable level by reducing the amount of funds that must be borrowed to maintain and enhance SMPA’s existing electric system. When the Board determines the time is right, allocations for a given year or combination of years are cashed out as “Member Dividends” and returned to the members.