Pioneer Electric may lower rates

Published 5:03 pm Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pioneer Electric Co-Op may be reducing its rates for electricity in the future if the current projected decrease in wholesale energy prices remains low, said General Manager Steve Harmon.

“Our power supplier, PowerSouth, has projected a decrease in the wholesale price of power for the remainder of the year, and, if that happens, we plan to pass that savings on to our customers” said Harmon.

During a strategic planning workshop the Pioneer Electric Board of Trustees received preliminary projections that would indicate a price decrease, said Harmon.

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He said a coal shortage last year, along with high natural gas prices, caused wholesale prices to rise to unprecedented levels.

“The wholesale cost of power that we have to pay is almost 60 percent of our rates, so when those prices rise, we have to raise our prices. At the same time, when those prices go down, our members should get the benefit of the decrease,” Harmon said.

Harmon said Pioneer is also looking at restructuring its rates and adjusting the monthly minimum required payments.

“We’ve recently undergone a complete review of our rate structure and we’re looking at ways to make our system less dependent on swings in temperature to meet our budgetary requirements.  As a cooperative, it’s important that our rates are fair to each rate class, and that we are good stewards of our member/owner’s investment in the cooperative,” he said.

Pioneer Electric spokesperson Angela Green said the cooperative will be updating its membership as soon as additional information is available.

There was no data released as to how much of a decrease in power rates Pioneer Electric’s membership could be expected to see.