Electric cooperatives were created in the 1930s to bring electricity to places other utilities wouldn’t serve. Today, we’re still working to light up the dark corners of the world!
I’m proud to say that three Blue Ridge Energy line technicians are part of a North Carolina team who are helping bring electricity to the small Bolivian village of Laphia. Thirteen linemen from seven NC co-ops have volunteered to build five miles of power lines to connect the community, including 68 buildings and a school, to the power grid.
According to village leaders, electricity will create new economic and educational opportunities for the 120 residents of this rural agricultural community and help its younger members remain in the village rather than move to l arger cities.
Blue Ridge Energy line technicians selected for this honor are: Eddie Stephens, Watauga crew leader who was also chosen as crew leader for the entire NC team; Jerry Gregg, Caldwell line tech A; and Faron Atwood, Alleghany crew leader, who will serve as alternate in case a NC crew member cannot attend. The volunteers will stay in modest lodging with running water for the 2½-week trip.
This collaboration, known as the Brighter World Electrification Initiative, is an effort by all 26 electric cooperatives in North Carolina under the broader initiative of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association International. This organization has brought electricity to more than 160 million people in 44 developing countries since it began in 1962.