The Cooperative Difference

The Cooperative Difference

Service That's Just as Dependable as the Power

Integrity, accountability, innovation and commitment to community – these four values are the foundation of every service Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative provides its members. They represent the cooperative difference and how local Touchstone Energy co-ops earn the trust of millions of people every day by delivering a high-standard service.


Members first. Every day. That’s the power of co-op membership. It means not-for-profit electric cooperatives deliver energy to its members at the cost of service, unlike investor-owned utilities that typically distribute its profits to investors across the nation or even the world – not necessarily to those it serves.


Electric co-ops belong to the members they serve. Every member has an equal voice in how the co-op is run. With members in charge, you can feel confident the decisions made are in your best interest and the best interest of your community. That’s because co-op business is conducted through a locally elected board of directors who propose policies to be voted on by members – a stark contrast to investor-owned utilities where the investor with the most shares has the most clout.


Touchstone Energy Cooperatives offers innovative solutions and state-of-the-art technology to better serve members and meet their needs including cutting-edge programs promoting energy efficiency, new bill payment options and numerous member-benefit programs. Touchstone Energy Cooperatives also helps local co-ops and business members forge stronger partnerships through a national site selection website, educational events, web conferences and ongoing communications.


Across the country, local Touchstone Energy co-ops work to improve its members’ quality of life by investing time, money and expertise to better local communities and strengthen relationships with member-owners. That includes taking a leadership role in community and economic development projects, educating students about safety and environment, as well as generously donating time, energy and resources to charities, schools and community events.

These Poles Have Roots

Electric cooperatives brought power to rural America when no one else would.  For years, power companies never ventured outside their city limits. They ignored the electric needs of the nation's rural areas for one reason.  There was no profit to be made.  As a result, nine out of 10 rural homes were without electric service as late as the mid-1930's.  And so electric co-ops were established, built on principle by people who shared the same principles - to deliver affordable electricity to the entire nation.



What Makes the Co-op Difference?



Locally owned and operated


Democratically run


Not-for-profit organization


Responsive to local needs


Trusted energy provider

Strong Principles Run Through Every Co-op Line

Blue Ridge Electric Co-op members share more than electricity.  They share the same principles.  That's because electric co-ops are located in the communities they power and work hard to improve quality of life for all.

Additionally, Blue Ridge Electric Co-op is locally owned and operated by the very members we serve which means the co-op is always looking out for you with a focus on member needs and local priorities.  Member-ownership also guarantees every member has a voice in co-op business decisions.  How the co-op is run is up to you.  

As a not-for-profit entity, members know they can trust their electric co-op , because it was created to deliver on the promise of providing safe, reliable and affordable electricity to members - not to generate money for shareholders.

Community-friendly values mixed with the cooperative business model is what makes electric co-ops stronger and sets us apart from traditional investor-owned power companies.


With the support of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who in 1935 established the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), friends, neighbors and communities united to create a new kind of electric utility.  One where the voice of every person made a difference and electricity was just as affordable as it was reliable.  With that, electric co-ops were born.

Today that spirit of community, growth and determination continues to thrive.  With the same focus on our members needs, Blue Ridge Electric Co-op provides much more than competitively priced, reliable energy.  We are also committed to improve the quality of life for our members and local communities.