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Program helps find ‘lost’ members

They may be due funds from Sawnee

POSTED: March 5, 2013 12:30 a.m.

Sawnee Electric Membership Corporation recently began a new program that could help former members claim funds they are owed.

Each year, Sawnee EMC members receive an assignment of “patronage capital,” which is revenue in excess of operating costs and expenses.

The assigned funds are eventually returned to members when the cooperative’s board of directors approves doing so.

Sometimes finding former members is difficult since they have moved away and not left a valid forwarding address. When that happens, they simply can’t be found to return their patronage capital.

However, Sawnee recently adopted an enhanced outreach program to hopefully help with the issue it calls “lost members.”

Blake House, vice president of member services, said in a statement that “tools have been in place for many years” to help staff find these people.

“But if we do not have a good forwarding address or unless someone contacts us, the funds could go unclaimed,” he said.

In an attempt to find more former members, Sawnee recently began working with a national information vendor that specializes in assisted research and updating information databases.

A new multi-step process involves sending a letter to what is believed to be the former member’s current address, alerting them to the unclaimed funds.

They are asked to provide personal information that would only be known to them or to go online and perform the identification process.

“It is our hope that this additional search, which is not required under Georgia law, will allow us to get these retired and unclaimed patronage capital funds back into the rightful hands of the people who provided them,” House said.


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