Know Your Neighbor: Blue Ridge Energy

Posted By: Emma Faulkner Chamber News,

Bill credits or checks are coming in May to members of Blue Ridge Energy, thanks to a capital credits retirement of over $6 million approved by the Board of Directors.

Nearly 94,000 active and inactive members (present and past) will receive refunds due to them as part unique benefit of being served by an electric cooperative. Most active members will receive a bill credit on their May bill, although some will see a check in the mail. Those due less than $100 receive a bill credit; members due $100 or more will receive a check in the mail separate from their electric bill. Inactive, or former, members will receive a check. If former members have not kept their address updated with the cooperative, they can search the cooperative’s website area for unclaimed capital credits.

The amount of each refund is based on that member’s individual household usage of electricity. The average bill credit this year is $30 and the average check amount is $405.

Members who requested to donate all or a portion of their capital credits refund to Operation Round Up® (ORU), the cooperative’s program for crisis heating assistance and grants for local not-for-profit programs, will receive a mailed notice of their refund donation. These members pledged nearly $50,000 in capital credits returns and, as usual with ORU donations, every penny goes to the program.

Notification about the capital credits retirement appears in the May member newsletter which mailed April 23rd as part of Carolina Country magazine.

While it may sound like a complex term, capital credits are simply a benefit for members served by a cooperative. Each member is also an owner of their cooperative, and that ownership is represented by capital credits.  As a cooperative business, Blue Ridge doesn’t earn profits. Instead, any revenues remaining after all expenses have been paid each year are considered margins which are allocated to members. After being used for a period of years as operating capital for power lines, substations, and other electric system assets to ensure reliable electricity, the funds are returned to members.  This process helps reduce the need for loans, which helps keep electric rates lower.

Each year, the Board of Directors decides on a capital credits retirement based on the financial health of the cooperative. Since its inception as an electric cooperative, Blue Ridge Energy has returned a total of over $98 million back to its members through annual capital credits retirements.

Blue Ridge Energy is a member owned electric cooperative serving some 78,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, and Alleghany counties as well as parts of Wilkes, Avery, and Alexander counties. It also includes a propane heating fuels subsidiary and business-to-business dark fiber subsidiary. Learn more at

The Know Your Neighbor campaign puts your business in the spotlight. This benefit is  available to members at the Visibility level and higher. It gives you the chance to tell your story so that community members near and far can learn more about what you have to offer. Contact Megan Biddix, Director of Communications & Marketing, at to learn more.


Member Marketing Benefits