American Legion Receives $2,900 Pioneer Electric H.U.G.S. Grant

Members of Pioneer Electric’s Helping Us Give To Society (H.U.G.S.) team met with representatives of the American Legion Post 79 on Jan. 4 in Ulysses to present the Legion with a $2,900 grant. Funds from the grant will be used to replace grass at the Veterans Memorial with a rockscape.


“Replacing the grass at the memorial will save the Legion approximately $1,450 per year,” said Kyle Stringham, a member of the Legion. “We’ll be able to use the money saved to make resources available to veterans in Grant County.”


The Legion also hopes to replace a cedar fence along the memorial’s east side.

“We’re proud to partner with the Legion and community of Ulysses on this project,” said Anita Wendt, Pioneer Electric vice president of Energy Services. “Not only will this help the Legion make more of an impact for the veterans in the area, but also bring great improvements to such an honorable monument.”

Funds Pioneer Electric’s H.U.G.S program are generated by recycling scrap materials like aluminum, steel or copper taken from poles no longer in service. Over time, these funds can be substantial. Organizations interested in applying for grant funding through Pioneer Electric’s H.U.G.S. program may review the application and guidelines listed online at

Use Space Heaters Safely

Electric space heaters can help warm a room quickly. However, they can be as dangerous as convenient if used improperly. Safe Electricity urges everyone in the home to understand the importance of using space heaters safely:

  • Purchase only space heaters that have been safety tested and UL-approved. Make sure the unit has an emergency tip-over shut-off feature and heating element guards. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for operation and care.
  • Before using a space heater, make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working condition.
  • Make sure the heater is clean and in good condition.
  • Place the heater out of high-traffic areas and on a level, hard, non-flammable floor surface.
  • Space heaters have one purpose —to provide supplemental heating. Never use them to thaw pipes, cook food, or dry clothing or towels.
  • Remember to keep space heaters at least three feet from combustible liquids, like fuel, spray cans, and paint, and flammable items such as draperies, blankets, and sofas.
  • Never allow pets or children near an electric heater. Accidental contact could cause serious shock or burns.
  • Do not overload circuits. Never use extension cords or multiple plugs with a space heater and make sure not to plug the unit into the same circuit as other electric appliances.
  • If your space heater is plugged into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) and it trips, don’t assume there is something wrong with the GFCI. Immediately stop using the heater until a professional can check it— if not, a serious shock could occur.
  • Never leave space heaters unattended. Turn off your space heater and unplug it before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Replace older space heaters with newer, safer models.


It Pays To Be A Member….Literally!

As a member of Pioneer Electric, you’ve likely heard us talk about the “value” of membership. Access to safe and reliable energy at an affordable cost, scholarships and youth programs, grant opportunities and community investment are all part of the value of membership. Did you know that there is also monetary value in membership?
Like all cooperatives, Pioneer Electric is owned and led by the members it serves and operates at-cost. This means that any revenue the cooperative generates in excess of its’ operating expenses goes back to members in the form of capital credit allocations. Through the process of allocating (setting aside) year-end margins and retiring capital credits (returning money to members in the form of a check), members experience the VALUE of membership.
Retiring capital credits is unique to the cooperative business model, but the process involved can be complex and difficult to understand. Pioneer Electric breaks the process down into four parts: Part One – Membership, Part Two – Allocate, Part Three – Evaluate and Part Four – Retire.

What does it mean to be a member of Pioneer Electric? It means you are more than just a customer – you’re an owner. This means that each member has a financial stake in the equity (margins) of the cooperative based on their patronage (usage) over time.
Membership is determined by having (or previously having) service within Pioneer Electric’s service territory. Whether you currently have service with Pioneer Electric or lived on our lines 30 years ago – You’re a member!
Members who no longer live within Pioneer Electric’s service territory are still eligible to receive capital credits for the years they were members.

Each year, Pioneer Electric allocates (sets aside) any year-end margins that are in excess of the cooperative’s operating expenses to our members. This allocation is based on each member’s patronage contribution (or how much electricity the member used) for the year.
Evaluating the financial strength of the cooperative is an essential step in the capital credit process. Pioneer Electric’s member-elected Board of Trustees examines the cooperative’s financial standing, determines the total dollar amount to retire (if allowed), and votes whether or not to approve the retirement of capital credits.

Historically and again in 2022, the Board has employed a “hybrid” method when retiring capital credits. The hybrid method divides the total approved retirement amount, paying 25% towards the most current year on record (2021) and 75% towards the oldest year on record (1999). Members with patronage allocations in either of these two years will receive a retirement check.
As a member-owner, Pioneer’s members may also receive additional capital credits on behalf of Sunflower Electric Cooperative, Pioneer Electric’s generation and transmission (G&T) provider. If Sunflower retires capital credits to Pioneer Electric, the Pioneer Electric Board of Trustees votes whether or not to approve the retirement of G&T capital credits. The hybrid method is also used for G&T retirements, dividing the approved retirement amount by paying 75% towards the oldest year on record (2011) and 25% towards the most current year (2021).

Check, Please!
This year, Pioneer Electric’s Board of Trustees has approved the retirement of $4.4 million in capital credits back to members. Capital credits will be distributed in the form of a check and available for pick up at Pioneer Electric’s annual Member Appreciation Event.
Member Appreciation will be held Dec. 16 the Grant County Civic Center in Ulysses from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Members will have the opportunity to pick up their check, enjoy a complimentary meal and enjoy live entertainment.
For more information regarding the retirement of capital credits, receiving your check or Member Appreciation visit or call 620-356-1211.