As 2021 returned some normalcy to operations, the financial strength of the cooperative also remained strong for our member-consumers. Your cooperative invested an increased amount from prior years in the electric plant infrastructure needed to ensure reliable service, extending or replacing over $8.5 million worth of new plant. The total assets held by the REMC totaled $82 million, with almost 90% of those assets held being the utility plant needed for service. The cash position was the only other increase of significance, rising by $1.5 million from the prior year due to borrowings that will be expended on additional plant in the future.
The plant investment was made primarily with the increased borrowings to spread the cost of the additions over the member-consumers who will use the new plant and avoid rate pressure. As of the end of the year, member-owned equity in the cooperative totaled $53 million. In addition, $377,204 worth of that patronage equity was returned to the member-consumers.
The revenue collected by KV REMC was steady compared to the prior year and increased with the increased cost of power purchased. Operating expenses, however, decreased by $600,000 in 2021, helping offset the increase in the cost of power for all member-consumers. Margins did not see much fluctuation, totaling $3.5 million in the current year and $3.3 million in the prior.
Your cooperative rates only collect the funds necessary to serve you. We collected $37.4 million to operate the utility during the year. The REMC expended $33 million to purchase the power and cover costs to operate the utility. The remainder was used for the necessary investment in the plant to ensure we deliver the service you have grown to expect.
The financial position shows strong member-consumer investment value while also showing controlled costs and continued investment in the items necessary to deliver our member-consumers the service they deserve.
SUSAN BACHERT, Kankakee Valley REMC secretary-treasurer