Blue Ridge Energy will send its electric customers a total of more than $5 million in checks or bill credits in May.

Checks mail May 7 to members who are due a capital credits refund of $35 or more. Members due less than $35will receive their capital credits refunds in the form of a credit they will see on their May electric bill.

The amount of each refund is based on that member’s usage of electricity.

The average check amount for some 20,000 active members receiving checks is $105. The average bill credit amount for some 36,000 members is $15.

Additionally, over 36,000 former members will receive refund checks.

While it may sound like a complex term, capital credits are simply a benefit for members of an electric cooperative. Each member is also an owner of their cooperative, and that ownership is represented by capital credits. As a cooperative business, Blue Ridge doesn’t earn profits. Instead, any revenues remaining after all expenses have been paid each year are considered margins that are allocated to members.