Members of Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation will enjoy a full year of a temporary rate reduction made possible by lower wholesale power costs primarily driven by historically low natural gas prices.
The rate reduction first began in December and the cooperative’s board of directors approved staff recommendations for the full year reduction at their latest Board meeting. It is the first time a temporary rate reduction has been possible for an entire year.
Member bills will be reduced by $18 for each 1,000 kwh (kilowatt hours) of electricity used monthly, which is the amount used by the typical member. This is equal to a 15 percent rate reduction for the average residential member.
As a not-for-profit cooperative, Blue Ridge Electric returns any excess funds to its members. Recent cost projections from the cooperative’s wholesale power provider, Duke Energy Carolinas, showed continued lower costs for 2016 largely due to continued low natural gas prices. Recent domestic production of natural gas has resulted in an over-supply, which is causing significant cost decreases.
The majority of the cooperative’s costs come from wholesale power purchases to provide electricity to members. The cooperative’s provider, Duke Energy, has increased its use of natural gas to replace retired coal plants.
Blue Ridge Electric serves some 74,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Avery, Wilkes and Alexander counties. Learn more at BlueRidgeEMC.com.