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Welcome to BHCEC

Welcome to Big Horn County Electric Cooperative, Inc. (BHCEC). As a member you are a part owner of a fine utility. Your membership entitles you to take part in the Cooperative’s annual meeting, including the election of directors who will represent you in the operations of BHCEC.

The Cooperative’s first headquarters was in Lodge Grass. BHCEC was incorporated in 1940 and sold its first electricity to members in 1941. The headquarters operation was relocated to Hardin in 1992. The Lodge Grass facility continues to operate and serve our members.

Growing steadily over the years, BHCEC serves over 2,300 members. Our territory includes most of Big Horn County, Montana and a portion of Sheridan County, Wyoming. Currently we supply electricity over 1,300 miles of distribution lines to 3,900 meters.

BHCEC’s goal is to give its members the best service possible at a reasonable cost. To maintain this goal your Board of Directors incorporated sound operating policies and employs highly competent, professional staff.

Again, welcome to BHCEC!

Cooperative Principles

Voluntary & Open Memberships: Cooperatives are voluntary organizations open to all person able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of memberships without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

Democratic Member Control: Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members who actively participate in setting their policies and making decision. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. Members have equal voting rights (one membership, one vote).

Member Economic Participation: Members contribute equally to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. They usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any and all of the following purposes: developing the cooperative and possibly setting up reserves, part of which would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.

Autonomy and Independence: Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organization controlled by their members. If they enter into agreement with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their cooperative autonomy.

Education, Training and Information: Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public about the nature and benefits of cooperation.

Cooperative Among Cooperatives: Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structure.

Concern for Community: While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for sustainable development of their community through policies accepted by their members.

Capital Credits - Questions and Answers

Q: What are margins?
A: Margins represent the difference between total revenue received and the operating expenses for the year.

Q: What are capital credits?
A: The margins are prorated annually to you, as a member, on the basis of your total electric bill. Each member is then assigned capital credits equal to his/her prorated share of the margins.

Q: Are capital credits redeemable for cash?
A: Not immediately. Capital credits are payable when the Board of Directors determines that we have met the financial conditions of our loan agreements and that cash reserves are adequate.

Q: Can I get paid for my capital credits right now?
A: No. The membership agreement that you signed when applying for electric service includes an agreement to comply with the bylaws of BHCEC. These bylaws require the Board of Directors to determine when capital credit payments are to be made based on their knowledge of the company’s financial position. In addition, the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and other lending agencies, require cooperatives to meet certain requirements to insure their ability to repay their loans.

Q: If I leave BHCEC, can I receive payment immediately or do I lose my capital credits?
A: You do not lose your capital credit, but are responsible to notify us of your new address so we can send you your capital credit payments when they are paid.

Q: What happens to my outstanding capital credits if I die?
A: The heirs to your estate may request retirement in full of your capital credits. Acceptable documentation must be presented to BHCEC before the capital credits are paid. Capital credit can then be paid to the appropriate heirs.

Q: I received nothing, but my neighbor received a capital credit check from BHCEC, why?
A: Because capital credits are paid on a first in, first out basis, your neighbor’s payment was for a period before you received service from BHCEC.


BHCEC is proud to offer scholarships annually to students of parents who are members of the cooperative. This is an excellent opportunity in the financial assistance of our future leaders. Applications are available at the Hardin office. For more information, please contact (406) 665-2830.

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