I applaud Blue Ridge Electric for building utility-scale solar projects, but what about us, your “members?”

While spending millions of dollars on these large projects, you’re penalizing individual members who choose to spend their hard-earned money on small- scale solar or other green energy options. Ashe County Habitat for Humanity, for example, includes solar panels and geothermal on all of their houses with the goal of reducing the cost of energy for their low-income partner families.

But wait! BRE actually charges an extra monthly fee to any “member” who uses alternative energy, nearly doubling the base rate that every “member” has to pay, cutting into any intended savings and increasing the already high cost to the homeowner.

Why? They claim it’s for infrastructure, but then BRE sells the excess energy they get for free from this home instead of buying it from Duke, therefore saving money for BRE. And all the while the CEO of BRE is the highest paid CEO of any electric cooperative in the southeast. In 2016, his base salary increased to $686,698, and related compensation was up to $308,466, more than double that of the CEO of the largest co-op in the state. And they say membership matters.

Beth Sorrell

West Jefferson

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