PIQUA — In 2020, Pioneer Electric Cooperative, Inc., an electric service provider that serves consumer-members primarily in Shelby, Miami, and Champaign counties, as well as a portion of the eight surrounding counties, celebrated its 85th year as a cooperative.
“In our 85 years as a cooperative, our mission has always been to provide safe, high quality, reliable electric service to our member-consumers,” said Ron Salyer, president and CEO of Pioneer Electric. “Despite the hurdles the pandemic provided in 2020, we were proud to continue to provide our members a reliable source of power.”
Salyer’s report continues:
While 2020 proved to be a year of uncertainty, Pioneer was able to remain efficient and effective while keeping safety and service to their membership at the forefront. Reliable electric service was vital in 2020 with more people working and learning from home.
Pioneer employees proved that they could adapt to change. They took new approaches to everyday tasks while remaining dedicated to Pioneer’s membership. Some employees reported to a different office, or in some cases, from home, for an eight-week period. Overall, workload remained steady and employees remained productive. Pioneer also capitalized on the opportunity to test remote work capabilities, including answering calls from home, which could be utilized and beneficial in the future.
Among Pioneer’s biggest accomplishments, was the completion of Haas Substation, a new 138 kV substation that will improve reliability to approximately 750 members in southern Miami County. The co-op also installed a new service for Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County at Upper Valley Medical Center and provided mutual aid following severe storms to Carroll Electric Cooperative in Carrollton, Ohio, in June, and EnergyUnited in Statesville, North Carolina, in October 2020.
In Shelby County specifically, the cooperative operations and engineering groups worked to complete an extension project at Hickory Hill Lakes and installed new service for Cargill’s grain elevator in Sidney. Remote operation equipment was installed at a Shelby County substation to help provide quicker restoration. As part of Pioneer’s ongoing preventive maintenance efforts, line crews rebuilt eight and a half miles of three-phase line, to improve contingency when a substation incurs an outage or maintenance needs, and seven miles of single-phase line, to replace aging conductor and increase reliability. Nearly 50 miles of trees were trimmed, and crews replaced approximately 100 utility poles in Shelby County following routine inspection.
Pioneer’s five-year meter exchange project, which is part of our preventive maintenance efforts, continues to progress on schedule. The cooperative continues to complete annual infrared inspections of Pioneer’s power distribution system to detect loose or failing connections prior to outages, further enhancing reliability. Pioneer deployed text messaging services and now offers text notification of peak alerts for those members participating in the load management program and plans to begin outage texting in 2021.
Pioneer is proud to report it received its highest member satisfaction score ever by scoring a 90 on the American Consumer Satisfaction Index. The cooperative was happy to return a bonus capital credits retirement to their consumer-members this year as pandemic relief during the temporary shutdown. Pioneer also secured a 20-year franchise renewal agreement with both the village of Anna and the city of Troy in 2020.
And finally, Pioneer’s employee fundraising initiative Powering Possibilities, made possible through employee contributions and fundraising efforts throughout the year, was again successful. Employees donated $2,000 to six food banks throughout our service territory and adopted a family for Christmas — a tradition Pioneer has held for nearly 30 years.
We look forward to continued success and providing safe, high-quality, dependable service to our membership throughout 2021.