Q. What are the basic differences among electric utilities?
A. The three types of utilities are: cooperatives, investor-owned and municipal. An investor-owned utility (IOU) is owned by stockholders who may or may not be customers and who may or may not live in the utility’s service territory. The IOU is a for-profit company. Municipal systems are usually owned by a city, state or federal government agency. Municipals usually are located in urban areas and serve those within that area.
Q. What is Touchstone Energy®?
A. Touchstone Energy® is a network of local, customer-owned electric cooperatives throughout the country, which are committed to providing superior service at affordable rates to all customers large and small. Those cooperatives involved have a reputation for integrity, accountability, innovation and community service.
Q. What are capital credits?
A. As member/owners, consumers are entitled to share in all margins earned by the Co-op. The accumulation of capital credits represents the member’s equity, or measure of their share of the ownership of the Cooperative. When the financial condition of the Co-op is adequate to meet all normal and emergency needs, the Board of Directors may approve the return of a portion of these capital credits.
Q. Why does the cooperative cut trees?
A. Trees and/or tree limbs growing too close to power lines can fall during storms and break utility lines; thereby, causing an outage.
Q. Where should I plant trees to avoid branches becoming entangled in power lines?
A. Taller trees, such as maples, oaks, spruces and pines, should be planted at a distance of 50 feet or more from overhead utility lines to avoid high branches overhanging the line or toppling into the line during storms. If you must plant trees within 20 feet to either side of power lines, plant species that will not exceed 25 feet in height, such as redbuds and dogwoods.
Q. When will my power be cut off for non-payment?
A. Accounts are subject to disconnection after the due date with out any further notice. The only way to guarantee there is no interruption in service due to non payment is to remit your payment in full by the due date. Failure to receive your bill does not relieve obligation to pay or entitle the member to an extension of the due date. Bills are mailed out each month; if you do not receive one please contact our office and new bill will be mailed out. Balances can be checked on our website or by calling our office.
Q. Who do I call to have the underground power lines located on my property?
A. One toll-free call to your local One Call Center gets the process going to have all of the utilities in your area located. Dial 811 from anywhere in the country to be connected. Failure to do so before digging can bring about stiff penalties, fees, and repair costs. For more information visit www.call811.com.
Q. What is Pioneer Electric Area Roundup (PEAR)?
A. The PEAR program is a charitable organization with over 350 electric cooperatives participating. It rounds up your bill to the next dollar and that money is dispersed to local charities in our service territory. An exciting new program called the Pioneer Electric Area Roundup (PEAR) has been launched to benefit people in southwest Kansas through the use of spare change. PEAR is a non-profit initiative that encourages Pioneer Electric members to respond to community needs by rounding up their electric bill to the nearest dollar. The extra change goes into the PEAR fund and is distributed to organizations and individuals in support of worthy causes.
To receive funds as part of the PEAR program, organizations and individuals must apply for them. A PEAR board, comprised of five southwest Kansas residents, reviews each application, and funds are distributed according to the financial need identified in the application. As an example of how PEAR works, if your bill is $93.42 cents, then it is rounded up to $94.00.
You can make a difference!
PEAR is a fine opportunity for Pioneer Electric’s members to make a tax deductible contribution. On average, each participating member’s donation to the PEAR program will amount to about $6.00 a year.
If you have questions regarding the PEAR program, please contact Sheila Mason, PEAR Coordinator.
Q. How do I report an outage?
A. To report an outage or emergency, call 888-551-4140. Your call will be answered 24 hours a day, every day.
Q. What should I do first if my electric power is interrupted?
A. Before calling to report a power outage, first check the fuses and/or breaker switch in your service panel. If fuses or breakers are okay, check with your neighbors to determine if they are experiencing an outage. If you believe the trouble is not in your equipment/wiring, report the problem to the cooperative.
Q. What are my payment options?
A. Members have several options to choose from to pay your bill. Be sure to include the bottom portion of your bill with your payment.
Tired of having to remember to pay your electric bill every month? Pioneer Electric offers a convenient alternative. You may make your payment automatically by signing up for Direct Withdrawal. You will receive a statement each month from Pioneer Electric to let you know how much your bill is, so you can record the amount in your checkbook.
To start Direct Withdrawal, you must follow these instructions:
- Click here for the application form.
- Complete the form and return it to Pioneer Electric.
Members may complete an application to establish a direct withdrawal payment plan through their bank for their electrical usage.
Your monthly bill from Pioneer Electric may be paid by mail. Return envelopes are included with your monthly billing statement.
Pay in Person
Payments may be made in person at the Pioneer Electric office. Office hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. For our member’s convenience, a drive-through window and a drop box is located on the east side of the building.
Budget Payment Plans
Two payment plans are available through Pioneer Electric: Variable Budget and Even Budget Payment Plans. The Variable Budget Payment Plan option takes your current month’s bill and adds it to your past 11 month’s bills, then is divided by 12 to get your current month’s payment. The Even Budget Payment Plan option takes your last 12 month’s usage, divided by 12 to get your monthly payments. The 13th month is considered a “catch-up” month and the accumulated total of the amounts paid will be charged or credited to your monthly billing statement.
Budget Payment Plans are offered to residential members who have lived at their current address for at least one year. If you are interested in signing up for one of the payment plans, please fill out the appropriate agreement form, given below, and mail it to our office.
Payments may also be made in our drop boxes at each of our offices, payments will be posted the next business day. Payments made by mail using the payment stub included with your bill may take several days to post to your account and are subject to mail delays and holidays.