Making life better for members and the communities your cooperative serves is the driving force behind everything we do at Blue Ridge Energy!
I’d like to highlight some of the projects taking place in 2019.
First, we’re continuing a major transmission project upgrade that is required for capacity as well as reliability needs of members in our mountain service areas now and for the next 50 years. The original 17 miles of transmission line that brings electricity from Ashe County to Watauga County was built over 50 years ago. The project also requires a new substation in the Rutherwood community of Watauga County.
We’re carefully monitoring this $40 million project because a small rate increase will likely be necessary in October. While we never like to pass along an increase to members and we work to control costs in every way, it is necessary with a project of this magnitude to ensure an aging electric grid is replaced to keep power flowing reliably to members.
Helping control costs are your cooperative’s two subsidiary companies: our Propane and Fuels operation and RidgeLink, a business-to-business broadband and telecommunications provider. These two subsidiaries are contributing over $2 million annually in net profit and benefits that go directly to hold down member rates.
Members will also have an additional community solar site this year. Details are being finalized and will be announced soon. Members who missed participating in our first four that were fully subscribed in less than a year can sign up on the waiting list at BlueRidgeEnergy.com.
Electric Vehicle (EV) incentives are also being rolled out. This includes Level 2 home chargers for members who are EV owners and contact us.
A huge local benefit are funds the cooperative secures through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program. Electric cooperatives partner with the USDA to compete for funding for projects that will make a large impact in local communities. In 2019, your cooperative will apply approved REDLG grants toward retaining Adhezion Bio Medical, LLC, in Caldwell County; Fleetwood Volunteer Fire Department in Ashe County; and a new fire truck for Patterson Volunteer Fire Department in Caldwell County. Blue Ridge Energy has a long history of securing REDLG funding for projects across its service area over the years.
I’m pleased to share these member benefits coming in 2019! I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming months and I wish all of our members a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!
Our guiding purpose is to be a major shaper of the future in our area which results in people achieving new levels of economic prosperity. That's the higher calling of an electric cooperative like Blue Ridge Energy. And that's why we're proud to be a part of all the communities we serve.