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February 2020

Vegetation management balances power reliability with scenic beauty

Vegetation management The single major cause of power outages is damage to power lines from trees and limbs during severe weather such as high winds, heavy snow, ice, or lightning. With more than 8,000 miles of power lines to protect, Blue Ridge Energy works year-round on vegetation management to ensure members have the most reliable electricity possible. While Blue Ridge ranks among the most reliable electric providers, your cooperative has added another method to help achieve reliability in a safe, environmentally friendly manner: aerial tree pruning.

Used by utilities across the nation for years, aerial tree pruning is approved by the ANSI (American National Standards Institute). The process is less intrusive to member property and the environment than traditional methods.

As with all vegetation management, members are notified in advance of pruning. Debris is removed from maintained areas, while in nonmaintained areas, debris is Vegetation management occurs in rights-of-way. either left or bushhogged to the ground. A right-of-way is a strip of land along either side

of power lines. It helps protect the lines and allows linemen to work safely to build and maintain the power system to ensure members receive reliable electricity. This method utilizes trained helicopter pilots who carefully conduct pruning along rights-of-ways. Trained employee “spotters� are located on ground level and are in constant communication with the pilot.

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Our vegetation management program combines several growth control methods that balance scenic beauty with safe, reliable electricity.

For more information, visit

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perspective From Blue Ridge CEO Doug Johnson

giving back:

Members Foundation There’s no better feeling than giving back. That’s the tradition of the Blue Ridge Energy Members Foundation and the power of partnership between members and your electric cooperative. In its 13th year, the Members Foundation has given more than $1.1 million worth of community grants to improve local quality of life for all ages (see recent grants on the next page). Including heating bill assistance for households needing help staying warm in winter, The Foundation has given back over $3 million. This would not have been possible if it weren’t for you, our members, and the cooperative’s subsidiaries. Thanks go to our members who generously round up their monthly electric bills or donate larger amounts of their choice to Operation Round Up®. Some even donate their annual capital credits refund, which you can sign up to do simply by contacting us. Also contributing up to $50,000 annually to the Foundation from their profits are the cooperative’s

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Propane and Fuels and RidgeLink telecommunications subsidiaries. Members also help guide the Foundation. A Foundation Advisory Committee, made up of volunteer members, annually reviews grant applications and makes recommendations to the Foundation’s Board of Directors for funding approval. While crisis heating assistance remains a cornerstone of Foundation support, improving quality of life across our service area is being achieved through Foundation grants in the areas of health and wellness, education and youth, environmental enhancement, as well as economic and community development. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you, the members, who generously give to Operation Round Up as well as those who use our propane and fuels services or purchase hearth and home products from our showrooms. Working together, your Members Foundation is helping improve the quality of life for people in our area and we’re also serving those in need of a helping hand!

If you would like to join Operation Round Up to help the Members Foundation improve local quality of life and provide crisis heating assistance, please call a local Blue Ridge Energy office, return the post card in this magazine, or sign up online at: ORU. To learn more about the Blue Ridge Energy Members Foundation visit members-foundation.

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Members Foundation 2019 grant recipients Alleghany County Alleghany County Group Homes


To change all lighting in the main day facility from fluorescent light to a more energy efficient LED lighting.

Alleghany Wellness Center


To expand interval training programs to include spin bikes and more free weights.

Blue Ridge Developmental Day


Funds will help enhance the learning environment where enrolled children spend the majority of their daytime hours.

Solid Rock Food Closet


Funding will be used to provide nutritious, shelf-stable, kid-friendly food to the at-risk children in Alleghany County.

Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation


Funds to upgrade and reopen the Bluffs Restaurant at Doughton Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway.


Project will provide free medication to patients who are uninsured or underinsured.

Ashe Really Cares


Funds to purchase healthy, nutritious foods in order to promote a healthy lifestyle for each person that they touch.

Pond Mtn. Volunteer Fire & Rescue


Funds to purchase a set of hydraulic rescue extrication tools.

Shoes For Kids


To stock the 14 "Shoes for Kids" locations in Ashe County with quality shoes.

Caldwell County Yokefellow, Inc.


Funds to underwrite the overall re-build of the loading dock at the new Yokefellow service center.

Caldwell Memorial Foundation, Inc.


To assist with project completion and purchase needed safety features, furnishings and equipment for the designated adolescent secure holding suite in newly expanded emergency department.

Caldwell Opportunities, Inc.


To build a sheltered picnic area onsite for lunch and breaks by clients various daily activities.

Caldwell Senior Center


To financially support the ongoing program of Medicare counseling and enrollments.

Helping Hands Clinic


Funds for pharmacy and lab services which are critical to the uninsured in Caldwell County.

Kings Creek Volunteer Fire Department


Funding to upgrade the existing NC Emergency Management viper radio system.

Patterson School Foundation


To upgrade electrical systems in the 1927 building.

South Caldwell Christian Ministries


Funds will purchase food for eight mobile food pantries that operate once a month.

The Caldwell House


Funds will replace flooring, appliances, pots, pans and purchase mattresses and a commercial grade washer and dryer.

Town of Hudson


Funds to aid in transforming the HUB into HUB Station, a user-friendly, business-friendly, and artist-friendly location.



Funds to supplement the budget for client utility assistance.

Boone Area Cyclists


Project will tranform the park into a more inclusive park for more park users.

Children’s Council of Watauga County


Funds for a family literacy program, support groups, high-risk parenting, parenting classes and a diaper bank.

Community Care Clinic


To sustain the current structure to support efforts related to behavioral health services.

Hospitality House of NW NC


Funds to support the WeCAN program that provides crisis assistance services for low income Watauga County households.

Hunger & Health Coalition


Funds will purchase reusable grocery bags for community organizations to fill with grocery items over a two-month period.

LIFE Village, Inc.


Funds for a supported residential community for adults with autism and related challenges for independent living.

Mountain Alliance, Inc.


Funds to support the "School's Out" after school program at Watauga High School.

Reaching Avery Ministry


Funds to purchase food for emergency food program.

Second Harvest Food Bank


Funds to support the Service Insights project in six counties: Ashe, Caldwell, Alleghany, Watauga, Wilkes and Alexander.

Spirit Ride Therapeutic Riding Center


Therapeutic Riding/Equine Facilitated Learning (TR/EFL) offers free services to all accepted clients. Funds would support the goal through scholarship funding for children ages 3-17.

Ashe County Ashe Memorial Hospital

Caldwell County

Watauga County

Multi County

Total $173,000


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Why answer the Census? Results collected once a decade from Census studies help determine how billions of dollars in federal funding flow to states and individual communities each year for areas such as affordable housing, schools, hospitals, roads, emergency response, and more! So it’s VERY important that everyone answer the Census! The 2020 Census invitations begin in mid-March, with April 1 recognized as national Census Day. It’s very important to list everyone living in your household on this date. You can choose to respond online, by phone or by mail. All information shared is protected and private. Please be aware that the Census will NOT ask questions about your social security number, bank or credit card numbers nor will it solicit money. Questions that ARE asked on the Census include how many people live in your home, age and race, and whether your home is owned or rented. Census counts are mandated by the Constitution and conducted by the US Census Bureau, a non-partisan government agency. For more information, go to


Attention youth!


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 PowerLine at (800) 448-2383. OFFICE HOURS: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm, Monday-Friday Kiosk available 24/7 + Night deposit Visit us on the web: +

This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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Scholarship and leadership opportunities are available as part of Blue Ridge Energy’s support of local communities.

County, Blue Ridge Energy helps administer the Charles and Lucille Suddreth scholarship, which awards $800 for a student attaining a twoyear degree. Financial need and academic performance are the primary criteria and the deadline for applications is March 31, 2020. Apply at BlueRidge scholarships.

To qualify for these opportunities, high school students must join Blue Ridge Energy’s Leadership Track in their freshman or sophomore years, or as early as possible during high school. To join or learn more, go to Did you know. . . Qualifying seniors are invited to youth-leadership-track.

apply for up to eight $4,000

In February, qualifying renewable scholarships? seniors involved in Blue Ridge Energy’s Leadership Track will be invited to apply for up to eight $4,000 renewable scholarLeadership camp opportunities, as ships for students seeking four-year well as college bound workshops, degrees. Awards are based on leaderare also available to high school ship performance, resume developsophomores and juniors in the Blue ment and a personal interview. Ridge Energy Leadership Track. Learn more at Additionally, for students in Caldwell youth-leadership-track. MEMBERSHIP matters

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Profile for Carolina Country

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