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February 2011

Members Helping Members Thanks to nearly 25,000 members participating in Operation Round Up®, the Blue Ridge Electric Members Foundation is helping local communities in two ways: to provide immediate crisis heating assistance needs, and for longer range needs to improve our area’s quality of life. This balanced approach provides a healthy, sustainable way to benefit members now and for future generations.

To learn more about the Blue Ridge Electric Members Foundation, to participate in the Operation Round Up programs, or to apply for a foundation grant, please visit

The Members Foundation is guided by a Foundation Advisory Committee comprised of members throughout the cooperative’s service area. These members help oversee the Foundation, review grant applications, and make funding recommendations to the Foundation’s board of directors who have the ultimate oversight of the Foundation. The Foundation benefits members by using 100 percent of donations to: provide crisis heating assistance; award grants that improve local quality of life; and fund weatherization efforts for qualifying homes. In 2010, the Members Foundation gave $189,000 to help 1,500 members with electric and fuel bill assistance. For longer-term efforts, $88,000 during two

different grant cycles was awarded to local not-for-profit programs. The latest grants were announced in December and are listed again inside this newsletter. While administration for the Foundation is covered by the cooperative, funding comes primarily from members through the Operation Round Up and Operation Round Up® Plus programs. Participating members volunteer to either round up their monthly electric bill or add an additional dollar or more. Fortunately, more than 35 percent of members are “rounding up” at an average of fifty cents per month. Funding also comes from a portion of the profits of the cooperative’s heating fuels subsidiary, Blue Ridge Energies, and this has also assisted the Foundation in meeting needs. Through the power of cooperation, Blue Ridge Electric members are helping make the Members Foundation and the Operation Round Up programs a success. This spirit of neighbors helping neighbors not only benefits our communities right now, it’s also creating a legacy to build on for years to come.

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Implemented for reliability and efficiencies, our smart meter technology is helping us with reliability efforts as well as giving members another immediate benefit: the ability to monitor their electricity usage and better manage electricity costs. With smart meters, members can now sign up for the free Google™ PowerMeter or on our website to start seeing how much and when you use electricity. By viewing this hourly or daily information, you’re more informed and better able to make decisions on how to be energy efficient. Smart meters are also making programs like FlexPay, our “pay as you go” service option, available. Also known as prepaid metering, this option is growing in popularity among some consumers because it lets you pay any amount you like, any time you choose — daily, weekly or monthly. There’s also a variety of more convenient payment and notification options. This can be a good solution for college students, rental properties, those facing financial difficulties or anyone who prefers a “pay as you use” alternative. Major, ongoing maintenance and upgrades to our electric system may be less visible to members but nonetheless they help ensure the most reliable electricity, even in an area with some of the state’s most severe geographical terrain and extreme winter weather. We have completed several major system upgrades and there is continuous work necessary to ensure an electric utility’s wires, poles, substations and other equipment are in peak performance condition to meet the demand for electricity.



As we enter our 75th year, we’re working hard to ensure our members continue to receive good value from their electric cooperative. The heart of why we exist is to ensure our members’ needs are met for reliable electricity, in the most affordable manner possible.

f hie yC An Editorial b

Benefitting Members with Reliable, Affordable Electricity

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eO To help plan, budget and schedn fficer Doug Johnso ule this work, our recently approved four-year construction plan calls for work to begin in 2011 on 22 miles of upgrades and eight miles of wire replacements to our power distribution system carrying electricity to homes and businesses. We will also be completing our Boone to Blowing Rock transmission project that’s needed to continue meeting growth and demand in Watauga County. While automated smart meters are greatly reducing the need Upgrading the Smethport and Warrensville to be on member’s property, substations in Ashe County are scheduled and we must still periodically check will be critical to meet the needs of members in our equipment and perform this county, areas that have experienced tremaintenance. Blue Ridge Elecmendous growth in the past decade. tric, or a contractor authorized by the cooperative, conducts Other steps we’re taking to improve power reliinspections of the metering ability include upgrading protective equipment facilities. This inspection is in for our substation transformers and transmission lines and adding motor-operated transaccordance with the requiremission switches. These steps essentially help ments of the National Electrical ensure your power is more reliable and if the Safety Code and helps ensure flow of power is interrupted by an outage, we our members receive reliable can more precisely detect where the problem is and uninterrupted electric serlocated and get power restored quicker. These vice from Blue Ridge Electric. systems allow us to send and receive informaFurthermore, as a safety pretion to substations from a central operating caution, authorized contractors center in our corporate office. For example, if and their vehicles will have a tree falls on a power line, we will be able to official Blue Ridge Electric give our line technicians a more specific area identification. to search so that less time is spent patrolling lines to find the problem and power gets restored quicker.

Smart Meter Service Inspections

All these projects help us meet the demand for electricity from our more than 73,000 consumers and as devices that use electricity grow in number in our households and businesses. Our planning and investments in innovative technologies and upgrades is the key way we’re looking out for members and preparing to serve you with safe, reliable, affordable, and smart power for the next 75 years!

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More News Members Foundation Fall Grant Recipients Alleghany County Solid Rock Food Closet


assist in the purchase of food for poverty stricken residents of Alleghany County

Ashe County Partnership for Children


provides emergency financial assistance to domestic violence victims

Ashe School Based Health Center


purchase of test equipment to help evaluate and diagnose various infection types to avoid emergency room visits

Communities in Schools


support of the initial development of the Ashe County Chapter and its first initiative of PAIR

Imagination Ashe


assist with providing free books to all preschoolers

Caldwell Council on Adolescent Health


assistance to allow CCAH health educators deliver curriculum relating to teen pregnancy, STDs, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS

Caldwell Friends


support mentoring program for at-risk youth

South Caldwell Christian Ministries


assist clients with heating bills and provide safe space heating for the elderly

Community Care Clinic


purchase of diabetic testing supplies for the uninsured

Casting Bread Food Pantry


food purchase from Second Harvest Food Bank to meet demand among Watauga residents



purchase of Energy Star appliances for expanded emergency shelter


funding to provide direct patient assistance for rent, mortgage, utilities, etc. to prevent homelessness

Ashe County

Caldwell County

Watauga County

Multiple County Projects AIDS Leadership Foothills-Area Alliance

Find all 2010 grant recipients on

Did you know…In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into creation the Rural Electrification Administration (REA.) This action recognized that support was needed to help rural areas become electrified. But it was the self-sufficient, enterprising residents of rural areas who worked together ― many by the sweat of their brows ― to form cooperatives and bring electricity to their homes, schools, churches, farms and businesses. Raiisin Raising i gB Bl Blue lue Ri Rid Ridge dge El Elect Electric’s ric’ i ’s fifirst rst power pole in Watauga County.

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Members Only NEWS

~For Members of Blue Ridge Electric

Scholarships Available CORPORATE OFFICE PO Box 112 • Lenoir, NC 28645

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Doug Johnson EDITOR Renée R. Whitener PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR Susan Simmons DISTRICT OFFICES Caldwell (828) 754-9071 Watauga (828) 264-8894 Ashe (336) 246-7138 Alleghany (336) 372-4646 Wilkes (800) 451-5474 (800) 448-2383 PowerLine® (PowerLine® is an automated account information and outage reporting system.) Toll Free 1 (800) 451-5474 (for members outside the service area) To report an outage at any time, call one of the numbers listed above. OFFICE HOURS 8:30 am - 5:00 pm, Monday - Friday Night deposit available. Visit us on the Web:

As part of our support of local communities, Blue Ridge Electric annually awards scholarships and youth leadership opportunities to high school seniors and adults returning to college who live in the cooperative’s service territory. This year, scholarships worth $14,800 will be awarded based on financial need, community activity, school performance and activities, and personal interviews. For high school seniors seeking a bachelor’s degree, five $2,000 Goodman-Hurt scholarships are available; and for residents seeking a two-year degree, five $800 Goodman-Hurt technical/vocational scholarships are available. An additional $800 Charles Suddreth scholarship is available to a Caldwell County resident seeking a two-year degree. Scholarship applications are due by March 31. The Washington Youth Tour is an educational week-long trip to Washington, D.C., held in the summer and may be awarded to four rising seniors in the cooperative’s service area. Winners will meet and talk with Congressional leaders, visit historic sites, and learn about the cooperative way of doing business. They are also eligible for college scholarships. Applications are due March 15. Seven students may also be selected to attend the summer Broyhill Leadership Conference at Queens College in Charlotte. The five-day conference is open to 10th through 12th grade students nominated by their guidance counselor. The conference helps students understand goal setting, motivational techniques, group dynamics, communication, and cooperation. Applications are available from high school guidance counselors, local community colleges or online at under “In the Community.”

Maintain the right temperature in your refrigerator and freezer. Refrigerators can use up to 20 percent of the total electricity in your home. The refrigerator should be set between 38ºF (3ºC) and 42ºF (6ºC). The freezer should be set between 0ºF (-31ºC) and 5ºF (-26ºC).

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The Foundation benefits members by us- ing 100 percent of donations to: provide crisis heating assistance; award grants that improve local qu...

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