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May 2014

Capital credits refunds coming in May! Money is coming back to members this May thanks to a capital credits retirement approved by your board of directors!

Ridge Electric doesn’t earn profits. Instead, any revenues remaining after all expenses have been paid each year are considered “margins” The $4.4 million capital credits retirethat are returned to the memment represents one of the largest anbers after being used for a penual retirements back to members. riod of years as capital to help Those qualifying for a $35 refund or finance major long-term relimore will receive a check in the mail ability projects. This helps offset separate from their electric bill, while the need to borrow funds, therethose qualifying for less will see it as a by helping keep your electricity rates lower. It also helps Members qualifying for a capital cred- maintain a healthy balits refund of $35 or more will receive ance between debt and equity to ensure your a check delivered separately from cooperative’s financial their electric bill. Those qualifying for health and stability.

a refund of less than $35 will receive a credit on their electric bill that they receive in May. credit on their electric bill received in May. Those too new to the cooperative to qualify for a refund will build their account over time for future refunds. As a cooperative business, Blue

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Your capital credits refund is based on the amount of electricity you purchase. The more electric service you buy, the greater your capital credits account, although the percentage returned is the same for each member. Before they’re retired, capital credits are recorded as allocations on

the permanent financial records of the cooperative and reflect your equity or ownership in the cooperative. Each year, your board evaluates the return of a percentage of capital credits to members based on the cooperative’s financial condition. Over the history of Blue Ridge Electric, more than $44 million has been returned to members. Look for your capital credits check or bill credit this May. We’re pleased to be sending these funds and providing value to those who use our services: the members of Blue Ridge Electric!

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perspective From Blue Ridge CEO Doug Johnson

It pays to be a member Wouldn’t it be nice to get a refund close to a month’s worth of electricity? That’s the value of what many longterm Blue Ridge Electric members are receiving this May when they open their capital credits check. Many others are seeing their refund come as a credit on their bill (full details about the capital credits refunds are on page 21 of this newsletter). Your board of directors approved returning $4.4 million in capital credits to members — the largest retirement to date! Capital credits is an unusual term, but it’s a simple concept. Until capital credits are returned to members, they’re used as operating capital to invest in power lines, transformers, substations, and other assets that provide you with reliable electric service. Capital credits are the annual margins — revenues minus expenses of the cooperative — which are allocated to each member based on your individual usage and purchase of electricity. After using the money for a period of years to finance investment in electric facilities, it is returned to members over time. To assure your return of capital credits and the fiscal health of your Page 22

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cooperative, your board of directors has approved an equity management plan. The plan sets an industry best standard goal for member equity at 40 percent of assets. It also includes a schedule for the regular return of member equity in the form of capital credits. Our members currently have just over 40 percent equity invested in the cooperative, which is $148 million out of over $365 million in total assets. This year’s return of capital is three percent of member equity. The equity plan also determines how much of the cooperative’s investment in electric system assets will be covered through member capital and how much will be covered by long-term debt. Our goal is to balance member capital (equity) and debt in order to give members the lowest possible rates. Since our founding, and including this refund, Blue Ridge Electric has returned $44 million in capital credits retirement funds to our members. We’re pleased to be sending money back to you this May. It pays to be a member of a cooperative and your capital credits investment helps us provide good service and value to our members!

The benefit of capital credits A key business principle of cooperatives is providing “at cost” service to consumers, which means cooperatives don’t exist to earn a profit. In a cooperative, there is no stock to be purchased or sold; the members are the owners of the business. After being used for a period of years to finance electric facilities investment, a percentage of capital credits are returned annually to members of a cooperative. What happens to my capital credits if I move or am no longer a member? Your capital credits remain on our records in your name and member number until they are retired. To ensure you receive your capital credits refunds, you should always alert Blue Ridge Electric of any address changes. What happens to the capital credits of a member who dies? The executor of a deceased member’s estate should contact the cooperative to request the capital credits. There are two choices: remain in the normal capital credits retirement schedule and receive a percentage each year or they may be paid immediately at net present value. The executor must submit a Certification of Entitlement form and a copy of the death certificate. MEMBERSHIP matters

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Look for your director election kit mid-May!

Director elections include Internet and mail options

Voting via the Internet or by mail saves your cooperative money, which helps us control costs for members. We encourage you to try one of these voting options!

One advantage of being served by a cooperative is the right to elect peers (fellow co-op members) to serve on the board of directors that guide your cooperative. Over the past several years, a record number of members voted using new, convenient options to vote online or by mail. While members may still attend and vote for directors during the annual meeting, the new options to vote online or by mail provide the opportunity for more members to be involved in their cooperative.

included, as well as information about voting options. In order to be valid when voting by mail, the form must be signed by the member with selections clearly marked and the form returned in the enclosed postage-paid envelope by the date specified in the packet. The form must be mailed; it cannot be given to an employee or accepted at any Blue Ridge office in order to comply with proper election management procedures.

With a service area stretching from the foothills into the mountains and across seven counties combined with busy family schedules, voting online or by mail gives members who can’t attend the annual meeting a more convenient way to vote for their board of directors.

To ensure the integrity of director elections, a third-party election management firm was approved by the 2014 Credentials and Election Committee (committee names available on our website). Made up of members from across the cooperative’s service area, this committee is responsible for ensuring elections are properly conducted and for certifying results.

Look for your director election kit to arrive in mid-May. Biographical information for all candidates and a proxy for members to make selections will be

Look for more information on the cover wrap of this issue and in your director election kit coming mid-May and on our website at

An Appalachian Summer Festival Outdoor Fireworks Concert featuring

LITTLE BIG TOWN Saturday, June 28 at 7:30 p.m. Kidd Brewer Stadium, Appalachian State University Gates open at 6:30 p.m. Adult tickets with Blue Ridge Electric member discount - $33 (regularly $38) Children’s tickets - $5 *All tickets must be purchased through ASU. Find a direct link to your discounted tickets at: > Community > An Appalachian Summer Outdoor Fireworks Concert MEMBERSHIP matters

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Sponsored by: Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation

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Never miss a payment again! One of the most popular bill payment choices available to members is Bank Draft. This program gives you the peace of mind in knowing your bill is paid on time without the hassle of stamps, writing a check or worrying about the due date. Our Bank Draft program is fully secure to protect your banking and personal information. Your monthly bill notifies you of the date the draft will occur. Bank Draft is the most economical payment choice and helps your cooperative control costs, which ultimately benefits members. To further reduce paper and postage costs, members are also encouraged to receive and view their electric bill by e-mail by signing up for “Paperless Billing” on the cooperative’s website. Visit and click on “My Account” to get started!


EDITOR Renée R. Whitener


DISTRICT OFFICES Caldwell Watauga Ashe Alleghany Wilkes PowerLine®

(828) 754-9071 (828) 264-8894 (336) 846-7138 (336) 372-4646 (800) 451-5474 (800) 448-2383

Toll Free

(800) 451-5474

(PowerLine® is an automated account information and outage reporting system.)

(for members outside of the service area.)

To report an outage at any time, call one of the number listed above.


Unplug unused refrigerators or freezers. Go to > GreenSmart and find out how the little changes add up.

Source: 101 Easy Ways to Save Energy and Money

OFFICE HOURS: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm, Monday-Friday Night deposit available. Visit us on the web:

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