Overview of Patronage Capital

“Patronage Capital”, as defined in Sawnee's Bylaws, is revenue in excess of operating costs and expenses. Patronage capital is assigned to each member of record at the end of each fiscal year. The retirement of patronage capital is controlled by the Bylaws of the Corporation and by certain lender restrictions. Generally, the Board of Directors may approve a retirement of patronage capital when it will not impair the Corporation’s financial condition.

Georgia Law and SEMC’s lenders require that Sawnee EMC collect revenue in excess of its operating costs and expenses ("patronage capital"). The Bylaws of Sawnee EMC require that each member who provides patronage capital have an account in the books and records of the Corporation that tracks how much patronage capital is assigned to that member.

This is when the Board of Directors of the Corporation has determined that it is in the overall best interest of the Corporation to retire the assigned patronage capital for a specific year to the members that provided it. This action is called a “general retirement” of patronage capital, which affects all members of record for a specific year. The Board has made the decision that a patronage capital retirement is to occur and that it will be refunded on a "first-in, first-out" methodology and only those members that provided this capital will receive these funds.

Sawnee EMC Bylaws and Policies provide that the Corporation’s Board of Directors (Board) may consider and retire, on a discounted basis, patronage capital to the estates of deceased members.  A request must be submitted requesting that the estate retirement occur.

To whom does it apply?
This aspect of patronage capital retirement "only" applies to the estates of deceased Sawnee EMC members.

How to make a claim?
A petition may be made by the estate of a deceased Sawnee EMC member by requesting in writing that the Board settle (close out) that member’s patronage capital account early, instead of waiting for a Board approved general retirement to occur. The Estate is not required to take this action, and the decision to petition the Corporation for this type of refund is solely at the discretion of the former member’s estate.

How do I apply?
Listed below is a hyperlink to the petition form, which must be completed and submitted to Sawnee EMC for a deceased member's patronage capital refund.  Upon receipt of the necessary documents, Sawnee’s Board will consider the request for early retirement, on a discounted basis, of a deceased former member’s patronage capital account. SEMC Policy 303, Retirement of Capital Credits to Estates of Deceased Members on a Discounted Basis, shown below, provides additional information about this process.

Sawnee EMC's retirement of patronage capital process has been very successful for decades, but sometimes it is difficult to find "former" members of Sawnee who have moved away or did not provide a valid forwarding address with the Cooperative. In short, when a patronage capital retirement occurs, Sawnee simply cannot find these former members in order to give them the money that belongs to them.

To assist in this search effort, Sawnee recently adopted an enhanced outreach program to hopefully address this issue called "Lost Members". Please visit the Lost Members link for further assistance.

Important Documents and Information

Patronage Capital Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)(PDF)

Standard Claim Form (PDF) – This form is to be used by former members of Sawnee EMC to request consideration for previous unclaimed or otherwise abandoned patronage capital.

Estates of Deceased Member Application Form (PDF) – This petition is to be used by the person requesting the distribution of patronage capital of a deceased Sawnee EMC member, on a discounted basis.

SEMC Bylaws (PDF) – The current Bylaws of the Corporation can be found here.

SEMC Patronage Capital Policies – SEMC has three (3) Corporate policies that relate to the administration of patronage capital and they are listed below.

  1. SEMC Policy 303, Retirement of Capital Credits to Estates of Deceased Members on a Discounted Basis (PDF) – This policy relates to the assignment and retirement of patronage capital to the estate of deceased SEMC members. The application form associated with this policy can be downloaded here (PDF).
  2. SEMC Policy 304, General Retirement of Capital Credits (PDF) – This policy relates to the general retirement of patronage capital by the Corporation.
  3. SEMC Policy 305, Capital Credits Received From Affiliated Organizations (PDF) – This policy relates to the assignment and retirement of patronage capital received from what is called “Affiliated Organizations”.

Overview of the GA Unclaimed Property Laws - The State of Georgia has established laws governing unclaimed property. Visiting this site, you can access the GA Department of Revenue’s Unclaimed Property web site. Funds that are unclaimed after a period of time, as defined by Georgia law (e.g. 5 years), are considered to be abandoned and either turned over to the State or allowed to be distributed under guidelines defined by the State of Georgia.



If you have questions about Sawnee EMC’s patronage capital program, please feel free to send us an email (customerservice@sawnee.coop) or call our Customer Service Center (770-887-2363).


Patronage Capital Links

Patronage Capital Retirement Press Release - This press release describes the retirement of patronage capital.

Deceased Members Estate Application Form – Read this to access the petition form relating to the patronage capital of deceased members.