Pioneer members re-elect three trustees, hear good news about capital credit refundMarch 28, 2013
Three Pioneer Electric Cooperative trustees were re-elected to the board as members heard good news on several fronts during the 2013 Spirit Day and 77th Annual Meeting last Saturday at Edison Community College in Piqua.
Sworn in for new terms were Dwain Hollingsworth, Champaign County; Colleen Eidemiller, Miami County; and Orville Bensman, Shelby County. The election was conducted by mail and through online voting.
Members were delighted to learn from President and CEO Ron Salyer that Pioneer will hold the line on distribution rates again this year. In addition, another record retirement of capital credits will occur.
Salyer said the board approved returning $3.8 million to members through a general retirement. The refunds will be made to current and former members in the form of bill credits or checks this May.
“I think when you get your May electric bill, you will be pleased,” Salyer added.
This retirement brings total patronage capital returned to members to approximately $35 million since 1981.
Pioneer’s balance sheet showed $100,970,837 in total assets as of Dec. 31, 2012. It was the first time co-op assets had topped $100 million. Net margins totaled $3,386,201.
Pioneer continued to score high among its peers in power reliability and member satisfaction. In addition, the co-op is a technology leader — with iPads in line trucks, supervisory control and data acquisition for system operation, virtual servers at the offices and a high level of digital security.
Pioneer also works with the National Information Solutions Cooperative as a beta testing site and is known nationally for early deployment of the “SmartHub” app for account access, bill payment and home energy use monitoring.
“Technology is making us that much better,” Salyer said.
Other impressive news was Salyer’s report that Pioneer finished its fourth year without a lost-time accident. The emphasis on safety, both for employees and the public, is paying dividends.
The co-op’s performance in restoring power outages after last summer “derecho” windstorm and a follow-up severe thunderstorm drew praise. Service was restored to 11,800 members, thanks to the efforts of employees working 16-hour shifts for four days.
Knowing the call center would be overwhelmed due to the number of power outages in multiple states, Pioneer employees manned phones at the offices and answered 5,200 calls.
“We were proud of our employees and the patience of our members,” said Salyer. “It resulted in the most thank-you notes we had ever received.”
Board Chairman Ron Clark credited the membership’s ongoing support for Pioneer’s success.
“The true measure of a well-run co-op is involved members who actively participate,” he concluded.
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