FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: May 5, 2020
FROM: Sarah Olson-McLaughlin, Office Manager
RE: Prairie Energy Cooperative Cancels In-Person June 3, 2020 Annual Meeting
Clarion, Iowa: The Board of Directors of Prairie Energy Cooperative (PECO), a member-owned electric utility serving north central Iowa, has changed how it will hold the Annual Meeting of its membership. In order to protect the members, communities, special guests, and staff to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, there will be no in-person meeting of the membership. The meeting had been scheduled for June 3, 2020.
PECO’s bylaws require a meeting of the membership in June and an election of the Board of Directors. For purposes of the election, PECO will hold a limited meeting on June 3, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. Board elections will take place by mailed-in ballot only. Ballots will be sent to the membership on May 19, 2020. Ballots returned by 2:00 pm on June 3rd will be counted.
Each year, two or three of PECO’s seven Board seats are up for election. In 2020, there are elections in District 2 and 5. In District 2, Ryan Eekhoff is running unopposed due to Director Jim Wellik retiring after serving 23 dedicated years on the board. District 5 election has two choices, the incumbent, Marion Denger will be challenged by Robert Ritter.
In lieu of the traditional in-person gathering of the membership, a business meeting of limited scope will be held. The order of business will be limited to the election of Directors.
“Unfortunately, this pandemic compelled the Board of Directors to make a tough decision to cancel our June 3rd member portion of our 83rd Annual Meeting,” said CEO Tim Marienau. “There were several factors that went into this decision - current restrictions, the foreseeable unknowns and challenges to hold a public meeting, along with the health and safety of our employees, our membership and the general public - it was a responsible one to make.”
Since March 17th, PECO has been implementing COVID-19 safety protocols to protect its workforce from the virus so that the cooperative is able to provide safe and reliable power at affordable rates. Prairie Energy likewise decided in March and continuing thru May, to stop any postings and disconnections of electric service. PECO asks that if any member is facing financial difficulties to contact the office to discuss payment options. PECO’s office is closed to the general public. Services and staff remain available by phone and email.
Prairie Energy Cooperative is a private, non-profit, independent electric utility, owned by the members it serves. Located in Clarion, Iowa, the cooperative serves over 3,150 member-consumers in parts of 11 counties and maintains over 2,000 miles of electrical distribution line in north central Iowa. PECO is an equal opportunity provider and employer. For more information visit https://www.prairieenergy.coop as well as Facebook or call 800-728-0013.
To our Prairie Energy Member-Consumers:
The safety and well-being of our membership and employees is of the utmost importance at Prairie Energy Cooperative. We are committed to bring safe and reliable electricity to our members who rely on it for their daily lives. As part of that commitment, I want to take a moment to share our current stance and practices as it relates to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
We are constantly evaluating the progression of the COVID-19 issue, reviewing our policies, procedures, emergency strategies, and adjust our course based on what is transpiring every day. Even though our doors are locked to the public, we continue to operate business as best as we can. Some changes being implemented are having our crews drive in separate vehicles to job sites as well as staggering their hours weekly, linemen assigned to after hour calls are taking a vehicle home at night, some employees are working from home, our employees, offices, equipment, vehicles, etc., have additional cleaning and sanitization measures in place, and we are practicing the new phenomenon of social distancing.
We do encourage members to try to keep their accounts in good status, however, if you find yourself facing difficulties, we encourage you to contact the office to see what payment options are available to you. We ask that you continue to use the payment drop box and other payment options available to our members. In addition, Prairie Energy will temporarily suspend posting and disconnection of service for non-payment until May 31, 2020
If you need to contact us, please do so as our office hours have not changed. Please keep checking our website and Facebook page for updated information.
Tim Marienau, CEO
To protect the public and our employees from the possible spread of COVID-19, the Prairie Energy lobby closed on Tuesday, March 17th and will remain closed until further notice.
Prairie Energy offers more payment options in addition to dropping off your payment in office:
- Drop Box: Payments may be placed in the drop-box at the front of our building 24/7.
- Mail: Use the envelope provided with your monthly statement and enclose your stub and check/money order.
- ACH: Having your bill deducted automatically from your checking account is simple, reliable and it can help you save time and money. There are no checks, stamps or trips. We offer this service free of charge. Call our office for more information.
- Electronic Bill Pay: Offers the member the ability to use your credit/debit card or checking or savings account to pay your electric bill online. This is a free and easy to use service. You will need your Prairie Energy account number, to create a password, and to register your information. Click here to pay with SmartHub.
- Pay by Phone - IVR (Interactive Voice Response): Call 1-844-241-0265 24/7 to make your payment. This is an automated system and you will be prompted to choose the option you wish to complete. You will need to have your account number and can pay by credit/debit or check. You are not required to create a password or register.
- Pay Now: Pay Now provides a quick, convenient and streamlined way to pay your bill. It does not contain all the functionality of SmartHub but does offer an easy way for you to pay your bill online while you are on the go. No registration required or password to remember. Click here to Pay Now.
- Credit cards accepted: Prairie Energy accepts Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.
We apologize for any inconvenience. Public safety is our top priority at Prairie Energy and further actions may be needed should the virus spread further. We are also taking steps to limit employee travel and vendor visits to the building.
Prairie Energy will continue to provide reliable electric service during this uncertain time. We ask for the public’s patience and understanding as we take steps to protect the health of our employees and our members. Any updates related to the impact of COVID-19 on coop operations will be posted on this page and on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PrairieEnergyCooperative