Pioneer Electric Cooperative Inc.
Pioneer attracted unflattering attention for ill advised
and ruinous investments in propane businesses
that fattened the pockets of managers but depleted
the members’ equity by more than $17 million, while
strapping members with the bills involved in cleaning
up the mess. Stories in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution highlighted the problem and underscored the fact that elections of the board had not been held from 1969 until 2008, when members gathered to elect new members. Part of the house cleaning did not involve greater racial equity of representation in this part of Alabama, famous as part of the route of King’s marches and the SNCC’s formation of the Black Panther Party in Lowndes County in the wake of voter registration efforts with African- Americans. Despite the fact that there are nine (9) seats on the board, seven (7) occupied by men and two (2) by women, eight (8) are white and only (1) is African-American, The core counties in the service area are overwhelmingly African-American at 64.8% to 34.1%, a 2 to 1 margin, and even including the additional partial service areas in five (5) other counties, cumulatively there is almost a 50-50 split racially, though that is also not reflected in the elected representation.