Marking a new era for the electric cooperative that first brought electricity to Caldwell County in 1936, Blue Ridge Energy is beginning construction on a new corporate office to replace the original facility which was built half a century ago.
We serve 76,000 electric members across seven counties in northwest North Carolina. The cooperative began expanding in 1998 after acquiring the propane and fuels subsidiary company that now serves 29,000 customers in the co-op’s service area, as well as Catawba and Burke counties and parts of Virginia. The cooperative further expanded in 2009 with a telecommunications subsidiary, RidgeLink, LLC, which provides dark fiber network and co-location services to businesses such as cellular providers, municipalities, health care and education institutions in North Carolina and Tennessee.
“Blue Ridge Energy’s corporate office is the hub for member and customer operations for all three of our companies and the services we provide,” said Chief Executive Officer Doug Johnson. “We’re excited that the new facility will meet the needs of a growing member and customer base for the next 50 years or longer,” he added.
Cooperative management and the Board made the decision to build after estimates for renovating the current 50-year-old building came in close to the cost for a new building. Other considerations included the fact that new construction will pose minimal disruption and will be complete in approximately 18 months.
The new building will not affect rates, as costs have been carefully planned and spread out over the next 30 years, requiring no debt for the new facility.
The $18 million project will be located in front of the current corporate office at 1216 Blowing Rock Boulevard. Completion is projected for first quarter of 2020. Headquarter operations space will increase from a current 32,000 square feet to 48,000 square feet.
Engineering, technology, system communications, safety, human resources, community and public relations, innovative energy solutions and accounting teams are also housed in the corporate office as well as much of the technology infrastructure for the cooperative and its two subsidiaries.
With four district offices renovated or constructed in the past 13 years, the Blue Ridge Energy headquarters building marks the last of a company-wide building modernization effort to meet the needs of future generations of consumers, employees and growth of Blue Ridge Energy and its subsidiary companies.
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