June 13, 2014. Director elections were announced at the annual meeting of Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation held Thursday, June 12, at the corporate office in Lenoir.
Elected to three-year terms were: Tom Trexler, Watauga district; David Eggers, Caldwell district; David Boone, Ashe district; and John F. Wishon, Jr., Alleghany district.
More members than ever are participating in director elections due to convenient opportunities to vote by mail and Internet: 6,711 members voted using those options in this year’s election. Director election kits were mailed to members on May 14 and included a proxy for voting by mail along with a postage-paid return envelope, directions for the option to vote online, and candidate biographies.
The business meeting included a report from Secretary-Treasurer Joy Coffey that the cooperative is sound financial condition and one of the top performing cooperatives in the nation.
Board President Kenneth Greene discussed community involvement by the cooperative. “As an electric cooperative and one of the largest companies in this area, it’s our responsibility to make life better in all facets of our communities and that’s why you see us involved in so many ways, including the Members Foundation,” said Greene. “It’s our mission to provide our members with reliable, affordable electricity but it goes deeper than that: Blue Ridge Electric exists to make life better in our communities, today and for future generations!”
Chief Executive Officer Doug Johnson recognized the linemen for the work they do every day in keeping power flowing but especially for their quick response to restore power during severe winter weather. He also commended employees and members who donated $26,000 earlier this year to help members in need of crisis bill assistance during the coldest winter on record, which produced peak heating use. That amount added to the $100,000 contribution by the cooperative’s subsidiaries, Blue Ridge Energies and RidgeLink, helped more people in the first half of 2014 than the total amount assisted in all of 2013. “That speaks to what we’re all about: we’re a people-centric company: people caring about their friends and neighbors,” he said.
Johnson added that the severe winter also led the Board to approve a three-month temporary rate reduction to assist all members during the time when member’s bills are highest due to heating needs. In addition, members received $4.4 million in capital credits refunds earlier this year.
Finally, he shared the good news that due to a combination of cooperative efforts to control costs, no rate increase is slated for 2015, which will further benefit members.
Blue Ridge Electric serves some 74,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, and Alleghany counties as well as parts of Avery, Alexander and Wilkes counties. For more information, visit www.BlueRidgeEMC.com.