20 Utilities Join Communications Co-op Family

Spread the word: Joining a communications co-op is a powerful way to save time and money while strengthening the services you deliver to consumers.

Board Chair Marc Farmer speaks at the co-op’s 2018 member meeting. Members meet again May 14, 2019, in Portland, Oregon.

20 utilities from states such as Colorado, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, and Wyoming became Ruralite Services’ members last month. Now—through the power of cooperation—94 utilities across the nation are working together to develop affordable, time-saving public power communication tools.

“Collectively the quality, diversity, and strength of the content we provide is significantly enhanced when we band together and share ideas,” says Marc Farmer, chairman of Pioneer’s Board of Directors and general manager of Clatskanie PUD, Oregon.

The More Powerful Together consumer engagement campaign, developed cooperatively by Pioneer and NWPPA, is a prime example of what utilities can achieve by working together.

“Our members have the ability and resources to offer more services, tailor them to their own needs, and to do so with an organization that has the members’ best interests—not profit-driven motives—at heart,” says Marc.

“Being a member gives me access to yet another resource for my communications toolbox,” says Penelope Hinson, manager of public relations and marketing for Horry Electric Cooperative, South Carolina. “Their guidance and expertise are always appreciated. They also understand our goal of member engagement and have total respect for the cooperative business model. Those are big pluses in my book!”

Member Perks

One of the biggest perks of membership is the chance to get money back. Pioneer Utility Resources has returned more than $2.2 million dollars to members through capital credit.

“It helps our members’ bottom line to not only keep costs affordable, but to receive capital credits as an added bonus,” says Marc.

Just as many public power consumers get a refund based on how much power was used, your refund depends on the volume of communication services used. In 2019 we’re retiring capital credits based on how much a member spent on services in 2018. Members receive checks by September.

Historically, members get back about 5% of what they spent with us in a given year. In the past 2 years, that number has been closer to 10%.

Members can also:

  • Use the award-winning More Powerful Together campaign for free.
  • Vote in person or via mail-in ballots at our annual meeting (Save the date: May 14, 2019, in Portland, Oregon).
  • Get discounts on select communication services.
  • Serve on the board, communications committee, and other focus groups.

“Being a member of the communications co-op matters because we all actively participate in creating, developing, and growing the organization,” says Marc. “Being a member is not a passive role. Participating on committees, the Board of Directors, and focus groups give our members real-time access to make sure the co-op stays current and relevant to meeting utility needs.”

Want to Join?

As a member-led communications cooperative, Pioneer Utility Resources has powered efficient communications since 1954. We have members in 16 states, from Alaska to Florida. But membership isn’t required to benefit from the co-op’s communication skills. We regularly partner with more than 100 utilities in 25 states, providing everything from websites and social media support to print and digital publications.

“Pioneer is a member driven, member focused, member service cooperative,” says Marc. “We will continue to evolve to meet our members’ needs as the market and industry changes. We have the flexibility, the creativity and the ability to do so now and into the future.”

To join, you must subscribe to at least one of our services and be a public power utility (electric co-op, public utility district, or municipal utility). Statewide and regional associations with primarily public power members may join, too.

Members pay $10 to join, accepting our cooperative articles of incorporation, bylaws, policies, and amendments. Email us to learn more!