Wake Electric has a new home, just in time for the cooperative’s 75th anniversary.
Wake Forest leaders, Wake Electric board members and the Wake Forest Chamber of Commerce cut a green ribbon on Tuesday to celebrate the company’s new building on South Franklin Street.
The $6.5 million building will serve as the cooperative’s main customer service hub and as a backup center to its Youngsville location.
Wake Electric serves 39,000 members in Wake, Durham, Franklin, Granville, Johnston, Nash and Vance counties.
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“It’s a wonderful thing to have this nice, beautiful building downtown,” Wake Forest Mayor Vivian Jones said.
Cashiers, call-center employees and other customer service representatives moved into the new site Feb. 16. Since then, workers have been putting finishing touches on the 28,000-square-foot building.
Most employees moved around the corner from Wake Electric’s old building on East Waite Avenue.
Some employees relocated from the Youngsville site, said Wake Electric CEO Jim Mangum.
North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, which offers energy services to more than 950,000 homes and businesses across the state, will rent the old building.
That site didn’t allow Wake Electric to showcase all the technology it takes to run a power cooperative, Mangum said.
The new site features three solar trees that generate enough energy to run an electric vehicle for a day, he said.
It took two years to plan and build the new facility. It has four floors, with the entire fourth floor currently unoccupied to keep the cooperative ready for continued growth.
Wake Electric is growing at about 3.5 percent a year, said Scott Poole, customer service manager.
Some of the unoccupied space will also be available for local nonprofits to meet. It could also serve as gathering space in case of an emergency.
Wake Electric will pay for the building partially through money the cooperative saved after it closed its Oxford, Louisburg and Zebulon locations.
Members will not see a big change in their bills, Poole said.