Member, customer growth

Just as last October was drawing to a close, Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative connected service to member number 72,000. That number obviously represents a milestone; however, what makes it even more remarkable is how quickly the member count climbed to that new plateau. I share that observation because the co-op reached 71,000 member only seven months earlier, in March!

In previous columns, I've called attention to the rapid population growth that's occurring across South Carolina. By various reports, the state is cited as being anywhere from the third-fastest to the fifth-fastest-growing state in America. It seems more and more folks are discovering what the Palmetto State has to offer.

Among the top four

I believe it's safe to say that much of that appreciation is directed toward the territory where Blue Ridge is privileged to serve. Current statistics indicate that we rank among the top four of the state's 20 electric cooperatives when it comes to adding new members. Let's face it - this northwestern corner of South Carolina is a wonderful place to live, work and retire.

In response to this influx of newcomers, Blue Ridge has designed work plans for both the near and long term, We're intent upon having well-functioning facilities to meet the burgeoning demand for quality electric service. In a nutshell, when it comes to supplying dependable electricity at the distribution level, Blue Ridge is more than doing its part.

Serious ground covered

To end this column in a positive note, I want to mention that Upcountry Fiber extended high-speed internet service to its 17,000th customer account in January. We connected service to customer number one barely three years ago, in February 2021. That represents some serious ground that our crews have covered.

What's more, the responses we've received from these new clients have been nothing short of tremendous. It's truly heartwarming to be on the receiving end of so many enthusiastic comments from subscribers regarding our quality fiber-to -the-premises broadband. Our Upcountry Fiber team is committed to continuing down the path toward total saturation of our service area. You have our commitment that if you want hig-speed internet, we're determined - sooner or later - to deliver. 

This month's magazine highlights Senator Thomas Alexander, who is the first recipient of the Electric Cooperatives Outstanding Public Service Award. We're proud to call Senator Alexander one of our own with a relationship that spans his entire career. Blue Ridge is fortunate to have someone that knows and understands cooperatives just a call away. We especially are thankful for the assistance he has given us in assuring that broadband funding has been awarded in our area. He is certainly deserving of this recognition, and we applaud all the contributions he has made to our state.


Jim Lovinggood 

President and CEO