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Pioneer dismisses rate hike rumors

By Scottie Brown

The Selma Times-Journal

 

In an effort to quash recent rumors, Pioneer Electric Cooperative, Inc. released a statement Wednesday stating they had no intentions to increase rates in the immediate future.

When company communication specialist Casey Rogers discovered the concerns of some Pioneer Electric members Tuesday at a Members First meeting in Selma, she sent out the news release.

Although Rogers had heard reports of the rumors last week, her release Wednesday was an effort by the company to further clarify its plans.

“I responded on Friday to some questions about the rumors, but then we kind of felt like it may be more of an issue if other people were also asking,” Rogers said.

Pioneer Electric serves nine different districts in the state of Alabama. Within those districts there are Autauga, Dallas, Wilcox, Lowndes, Monroe, Butler, Covington, Crenshaw and Conecuh counties.

The largest areas the company serves are Dallas, Wilcox, Lowndes and Butler counties. From those counties, the company has a combined total of 15,344 meters.

The last time Pioneer Electric changed their rates was nearly five years ago in January 2010.

The company raised its rates for the access charge each member pays monthly. The raise changed the amount from $30 to $34.

Rogers said the company has worked to cut costs in production and worked to cut the cost of labor.

“They’ve really, really had to just cut back on all of their production costs,” Rogers said. “Whether there, in the office or different things. They’ve had to cut back and cut corners. We have done some sponsorships in the past, but they’ve cut all of that out.”

Although the rumors have been started about rates being raised, the Pioneer Electric customers, however, are not questioning the service they are receiving.

During the snowstorms earlier this year, Rogers said there was not a loss of power to any customer, and customers who lost power during the most recent rounds of severe weather had their power restored relatively fast.

“People will say that the rates are high, but the biggest thing that they will say is the service can’t be compared,” Rogers said. “You just can’t find it anywhere else.”