February 19, 2014
The Board of Directors has extended a temporary rate reduction to span three months for members of Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation. The Board had previously approved a one-month rate reduction for February bills, but members will also receive the reduction on their March and April bills.
The typical member using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity monthly will see a $9 reduction. Overall, this reduction will save members of Blue Ridge Electric more than $1 million monthly.
“The extreme cold temperatures and high winds have caused our members to use a lot more electricity than we have seen in a number of years. In some cases, members have used triple the kilowatt hours than normal which is causing a severe impact on electric bills. This rate reduction will provide some much needed relief for all members,” Chief Executive Officer Doug Johnson said.
The cooperative hit an all-time peak demand for electricity on Jan. 7, when temperatures dropped to their lowest in years. The demand for electricity was 384 megawatts, exceeding the previous record by 10 percent.
“It’s important to us that even with high demand and winter weather we kept electricity reliable,” said Johnson. “When we do experience outages, our line technicians are always prepared to get power restored as safely and quickly as possible.”
Johnson said it’s also important to the cooperative to help members with the cost of heating. “I’m pleased the board of directors acted quickly to extend the reduction to cover what are typically the highest bills of the year for most of our members due to winter heating needs,” he explained.
The reduction is possible because the cooperative experienced higher than budgeted electricity sales due to the colder than normal weather.
“As a cooperative, we’re not in business to make a profit—we’re here to provide service at the lowest possible cost. The board hopes this reduction will add up to make a difference for our members,” said Kenny Greene, president of the Board.
Members wanting information about the cooperative’s free energy efficiency saving tools and tips can visit www.BlueRidgeEMC.com or drop by a local Blue Ridge Electric office.
Blue Ridge Electric serves some 74,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Avery, Wilkes and Alexander counties.