Craig-Botetourt Electric Cooperative held its annual meeting in person on June 4 with approximately 40 members in attendance.

CEO Jeff Ahearn informed everyone that CBEC’s new Ironto substation and related advanced metering infrastructure pilot project have helped to mitigate outages since their recent inceptions. “With this new station, we have seen outages reduced and the power quality improved as well. When we do have outages, the duration of the outages have been greatly reduced,” he said.

In addition, Ahearn said a new tie line from the Bellinger substation to the Boiling Springs substation is almost complete. “This new tie line will give us the capability to backfeed that area, in the event of a prolonged Dominion outage or catastrophic failure of the Boiling Springs Substation,” Ahearn reported.

Ahearn went on to report that an additional phase of fiber build in Botetourt County has passed more than 170 additional addresses and that the CBEC was recently awarded a state grant for fiber expansion into Roanoke County. “This project will pass 495 addresses and cover almost all our members in Roanoke County,” he said.

Ahearn also reported that CBEC was able to complete more than $3.3 million in capital projects. “These projects represent reliability of service and add to the quality of community,” he said. “Along with the capital investment that was made, your board approved the largest retirement of capital credits in the cooperative’s history. The retirement was in the amount of $980,249.”

Other annual meeting highlights included CBEC research into the potential use of a battery storage system within areas that currently receive power from AEP and preparations for the expiration of the AEP contract in 2026. “A battery storage system will allow us to store energy, during off-peak times and discharge it during the on-peak times,” Ahearn reported. “This would reduce our transmission costs.”

Frank Garman, president of the CBEC board of directors, told those assembled that every year, the cooperative’s directors have opportunities to attend educational training to keep up to date on the electric utility industry. “With the changing environment that we must operate within, the directors of the cooperative must remain active in learning about how to continue to serve the members,” he said.

—Report by Gregg MacDonald, Senior Writer-Editor, VMD Association