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Originally published: 2014-02-15 14:55:17
Last modified: 2014-02-15 14:55:17

Taking donations

by Staff Reports

Extreme cold weather this winter has hit local families hard with extremely high electric and fuel bills resulting from record heating demand.

Many people, including some who have never needed help before, are now finding themselves choosing between feeding their families, filling important prescriptions, or staying warm, according to officials with Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation.

"It's a situation none of us want to experience. That's why Blue Ridge Electric is reaching out to help. First, the cooperative has extended a temporary rate reduction for all members to span three months; January, February and March electric bills will reflect the reduction," Doug Johnson, chief executive officer with Blue Ridge, said.

"But unusual times call for extraordinary efforts. That's why we created the 'So No One Goes Cold' campaign to help push out crisis heating assistance. We've jump-started the crisis response with a $100,000 contribution from the cooperative's subsidiaries, Blue Ridge Energies and RidgeLink. That will help a lot of people -- but the need is at record levels. That's why we're asking everyone who can share to join us in making a one-time donation to the Blue Ridge Electric Members Foundation," Johnson said.

"Many of you are already contributing to Operation Round Up, the funding mechanism for the Members Foundation. And while these donations are helping, they're not enough to fill the need during one of the coldest winters on record," he said.

Operation Round Up is a BREMCO program where members choose to round up their bills, with the difference going to programs to assist others.

"Our goal is to help everyone who needs assistance with their electric, heating fuel or propane bill. We want to help anyone in the Blue Ridge Electric and Blue Ridge Energies service area -- you don't have to be our member or customer to receive help. In Watauga County, to apply for these crisis heating funds, contact WeCAN (Watauga Crisis Assistance Network). Or call us at (828) 264-8894," Johnson said.

"Right now, donations are needed. Every penny of your tax-deductible donation will go to those in need. To give, drop by Blue Ridge Electric to donate by cash, credit card or check made payable to the Blue Ridge Electric Members Foundation. Or, simply call us," he said. "Thank you in advance for helping make sure no one goes cold this winter."