Providing good value to the people we serve is the foundation of your cooperative that continues today for our electric members, propane and fuels subsidiary customers, and the work by our business-to-business telecommunications subsidiary, RidgeLink.
Your subsidiaries’ financial benefit, along with your cooperative’s management of wholesale power cost, is helping keep rates — and member bills — as low as possible! That’s very important with the cost pressure we’re seeing from wholesale power and investments required to sustain our power delivery system for superior electric reliability.
Key results for 2017 include your cooperative’s ability to provide members with lower bills from a multi-year temporary rate reduction that concluded March, 2017. This was made possible due to lower wholesale power and operation costs, saving members from paying an additional $27 million!
Members also received nearly $5 million in capital credits refunds! This record amount is made possible by strong financial management and is one of the benefits of your membership in the cooperative.
Excellent electricity reliability is invaluable, and we sincerely thank our line technicians and other employees for their commitment to ensuring you have top-notch electric power service. Even in one of the nation’s most difficult, mountainous terrains with severe weather, Blue Ridge Energy’s reliability consistently ranks among the top quartile in the nation!
Supporting cleaner energy is important to us all, and your cooperative’s four community solar gardens were fully subscribed in 2017. This monthly subscription model gives members easy, affordable access to participate in renewable energy.
Emerging electric vehicle (EV) trends have recently become an area of emphasis for us. Last year, we helped the towns of Blowing Rock and West Jefferson secure EV charging stations to help support tourism, plus we installed our own DC fast charger at our Caldwell district office that is drawing chargers locally and others on their way to mountain destinations.
Care for our members and communities we serve drives Blue Ridge Energy’s innovative initiatives such as founding the Blue Ridge Electric Members Foundation a decade ago. With member donations to Operation Round Up®, the Foundation plays a crucial role in helping those in need of crisis bill assistance. When abnormally cold weather began in late December, the Foundation responded with increased assistance, followed by a special campaign to help even more. The Foundation also supports long-term quality of life improvement projects to help local areas thrive.
Thriving communities are also the reason cooperatives are the conduit for USDA’s Rural Economic Development and Grant (REDLG) funds. In 2017, Blue Ridge Energy helped secure REDLG funds for several critically needed projects to ensure fire and safety protection for communities served by the Gamewell, Lenoir, and Fleetwood fire departments.
The foundation of our cooperative remains the people we serve, and each employee must have the heart of a servant to work at Blue Ridge! How you feel about our daily work for you — whether it’s by phone, website, office, restoring your power, or providing other services — matters to us most. We’re pleased to say our customer satisfaction scores from members rank us among the top performing utilities in the nation.
As a cooperative, our purpose is timeless: to make life better for our members and communities. As a member of Blue Ridge Energy, we hope you share in the feeling of value as we work to keep your bill low and improve the quality of life throughout northwest North Carolina.