On Monday, June 16, Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation will re-open its office at 2491 Hwy 421 South after being renovated for safer operations to serve the cooperative's largest district.
Nearly 30,000 members are served from the Watauga district office and the renovated facilities include an expanded warehouse to house service vehicles and large equipment. “This not only helps protect equipment needed for reliable electric service, but will also improve our response time during outages,” said Steve Woodring, Watauga district operations manager. “This is especially true during winter months when vehicles and materials will be better protected and available for quicker use during colder months–they'll warm up faster and we can have equipment loaded and ready to respond.” The facilities also enable safer operations during wide spread outages when assistance is needed from visiting crews, he added.
The renovated office also features a community meeting room that can be reserved by members when the room is not in use for cooperative meetings.
“This will be a great resource for our members and the community,” said Susan Jones, Watauga district manager. ” It is for occasional meetings and the room, which includes bathroom facilities, can accommodate around 100 people,” said Jones.
For member convenience, a new payment kiosk that takes cash, checks or debit cards has been added. The kiosk can be used any time of the night or day, which is especially convenient for members on the “pay as you go” FlexPay plan, those who previously used the night deposit, or anyone wanting to make a payment whenever they wish. The payment kiosk is located at a new second drive-through option at the office.
In addition to cooperative members, the office also serves customers of Blue Ridge Energies, the cooperative's propane and heating fuels subsidiary. A gas appliance showroom featuring gas logs, fireplaces, wall heaters, water heaters and more is included in the new office. The subsidiary's bulk propane plant and operations is also located on the property.
An open house is being planned for July, with an exact date and more details to be announced in the coming weeks.
Blue Ridge Electric serves some 74,000 members in Watauga, Caldwell, Ashe, Alleghany, Wilkes, Avery and Alexander counties. Learn more at BlueRidgeEMC.com.