You’ll be very pleased to know that despite projections for a possible rate increase this year, your cooperative is able to manage costs and keep rates stable for 2019! Better yet, we foresee that due to favorable wholesale power cost, we will be able to provide members with refunds on November and December bills this year! We’ll share more details on this in the coming months.
The future is also looking bright for 2020 as we continue every effort to control variable costs such as wholesale power, which makes up about 60 percent of your bill, as well as costs for critical updates to the power grid to ensure you have the reliable electricity that you need.
As our most significant cost, wholesale power is a critical area of management. One factor we are monitoring that could greatly increase power costs for all consumers in North Carolina is a recent ruling requiring Duke Energy to excavate state coal ash basins and place the contents in lined landfills. Duke originally planned to cap the basins, and they have challenged the ruling issued by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality.
Another significant cost is our grid modernization efforts. Savings in wholesale power have helped offset some of the cost of our Horse Gap to Rutherwood 230 kV Project, which will expand capacity and improve reliability for our mountain communities. This critical project replaces a 50-year-old system that is nearing its useful lifespan to reliably serve members.
Finally, we have more good news to announce! The cooperative’s fifth community solar garden is under construction. This site is located in Caldwell County, but any member can subscribe to the energy output of one or more panels and benefit from this renewable energy source. Our first four sites were fully subscribed in less than a year, so we’re very excited to offer another community solar garden due to high member demand. Construction should be complete by end of summer.
At Blue Ridge Energy, we’re committed to keeping your bill as low as possible while offering clean, renewable energy and service that’s reliable. We hope you feel the good value we seek to provide to you, the members of Blue Ridge Energy!