PIQUA — Pioneer’s 85th Annual Meeting of Members was held virtually on March 27. Pioneer Electric Cooperative is a not-for-profit distribution utility focused on providing service to its consumer-members, primarily in rural Champaign, Miami and Shelby Counties, as well as portions of the eight surrounding counties.
The meeting was led by Pioneer’s Board Chair Terrence Householder, who presented an overview of the cooperative’s accomplishments in 2020 including the completion of Haas Substation. The new substation will improve reliability to nearly 750 members in southern Miami County.
Householder also highlighted the return of more than $3.5 million to current and former members in 2020, this included a bonus capital credits return for pandemic relief. Pioneer has now returned more than $48.5 million in capital credits since 1981.
Householder spoke about Pioneer’s commitment to reliability through regular and preventive maintenance programs including its five-year meter replacement project and annual infrared inspections of Pioneer’s electric distribution system to detect loose or failing connections prior to outages.
Among other accomplishments throughout 2020, Householder commended the work of Pioneer’s employees in their effort to continue to provide reliable service during the pandemic.
“Although 2020 proved to be a year of uncertainty and provided unexpected roadblocks, your cooperative lived up to the challenge,” said Householder. “I’d like to commend our management team and the employees of Pioneer for their flexibility, thoughtfulness, and follow through as we navigated this unprecedented time together.”
Householder encouraged participation in Pioneer’s political action committee, ACRE® Co-op Owners for Political Action® and the importance of being ready to fight for legislative fairness on issues that affect the co-op and our members at a local, state, and federal level.
“Your involvement in the political process helps us tell the electric co-op story to legislators,” said Householder. “Our message is strongest when we can tell them our consumer-members, who are their constituents, support the cooperative business model and the rural way of life through their involvement in the PAC.”
In the management update, Pioneer President & CEO Ron Salyer shared with the membership that a rate increase would not be needed in 2021.
He also focused on preventive maintenance efforts in the cooperative’s three primary counties, Champaign, Miami and Shelby.
Salyer went on to acknowledge the co-op’s commitment to community through the employee-driven fundraising initiative, Powering Possibilities, which donated more than $4,600 to organizations in 2020, as well as an additional $4,700 in contributions approved by Pioneer’s Board of Trustees to various local organizations.
He echoed Householder’s praise of Pioneer employees for their productivity and flexibility throughout the pandemic shutdown and throughout all of 2020.
“I believe many of us had the impression that 2020 would be a slow year,” said Salyer. “However, our employees stayed busy, exceeding our expectations in regard to productivity and I’m especially thankful to them for that.”
The meeting recessed between 10 a.m. and noon to allow members to return Code of Regulations and Articles of Incorporation change ballots. The eight proposed changes to the Code of Regulations and one change to the Articles of Incorporation were approved.
Nearly 2,100 Pioneer members voted in this year’s board election. The election results for the Pioneer Board of Trustees and each of the county boards were announced during the meeting, as well. As a democratically controlled organization, those running for their respective boards are Pioneer members and are elected by their fellow members. Voting was conducted by mail, online, and through the SmartHub app.
Elected to three-year terms on the Pioneer Board of Trustees were Ted Black of Champaign County, Robert Billings of Miami County, and Terrence Householder of Shelby County. Three-year positions filled on the county boards of the Champaign, Miami and Shelby districts are as follows. Those elected to the Champaign County board are Mark Atterholt, Urbana; Ward Wildman, Urbana; Kurt King, Cable; and Chad Wallace, Cable. Elected to the Miami County board are: Wayne Mullenix, Piqua; William Platfoot, Tipp City; Michael Robbins, Piqua; and Jenny Hodge, Tipp City. Those to serve on the Shelby County board are: Roger Wehrman, Fort Loramie; Steve Wenning, Sidney; Thomas Wyen, Anna; and Joseph Everett, Sidney.
The election was run and certified by a third-party company, Diamond Communication Solutions.
During its re-organizational meeting, the Pioneer Board elected the following officers for the year: Terrence Householder, chair; Colleen Renee Riggs Eidemiller, first vice chair; Roger Bertke, second vice chair; John Goettemoeller, secretary; and Mark Bailey, treasurer. Ted Black was elected to represent Pioneer on the Ohio Rural Electric Cooperatives board of trustees.