2023 in review

It has been quite a busy year for the co-op, and I wanted to share with you some of the highlights of 2023. Much of the information that I am highlighting doesn’t cover the full 12 months of our 2023 operation, but I think you will agree that it was another year of significant progress. Here are highlights from 2023:

  • 83rd consecutive Blue Ridge Annual Meeting hosted, with a record 8,228 members registered.
  • $1 million-plus in capital credits refunded to members—the fortieth straight yearly return of these payments, bringing the to-date total to more than $33 million.
  • 403 past-their-prime transformers removed from the field, refurbished and returned to inventory. This program created $444,575 in savings and was helpful in meeting our need for these line construction materials in the face of supply shortages occurring all across the electric power industry.
  • 45 emergency generators installed for members. A total of 800 of these units are now in operation at Blue Ridge members’ premises.
  • 978 miles of power line rights-of-way cleared mechanically or treated with herbicides. Trees and power lines just don’t mix, and an aggressive program of vegetation maintenance is essential to service reliability.
  • 918 net new members connected to the Blue Ridge system; total membership expected to have grown beyond 72,000 by year’s end.
  • Complete rebuild of 1.5 miles of 44-KV transmission line providing service to the cooperative’s Mountain Rest substation. A challenging project that took place amid some of the most rugged and mountainous territory on the Blue Ridge system.
  • Establishment of electrical service to a new firearms manufacturing industrial plant located within the Pickens County Commerce Park.
  • The number of customers receiving Upcountry Fiber’s high-speed internet services grew from 8,283 on Jan. 1 to 13,332 by Sept. 15. Total should surpass 15,000 by Dec. 31.
  • Upcountry Fiber Darius Rucker concert netted $114,000 to be distributed among local charities.
  • South Carolina Lt. Governor Pamela Evette participated in an Upcountry Fiber field trip that provided her with an up-close look at crews connecting high speed internet for new customers in Greenville County’s Travelers Rest area.

The above listed items represent just a fraction of activities that our Blue Ridge team had on its plate during 2023. I’m proud of their hard work, and I’m looking forward to further progress as we prepare to welcome a new year.

Finally, I want to call your attention to page 6 in this edition of the magazine and the member satisfaction survey you’ll find there. We value your opinion and hope that you will take a few minutes to let us know your thoughts on our service and important topics in the energy industry. There are several ways to submit your survey and all completed surveys received by Dec. 15 will be entered into a prize drawing.

I want to wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas and a prosperous new year.


Jim Lovinggood

President and CEO