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About Elizabethton Electric System

The Elizabethton Electric Department was purchased from East Tennessee Light and Power Company for $820,000 and established by the City of Elizabethton on June 29, 1945 as the Elizabethton Electric System, governed by a board of directors appointed by the Elizabethton City Council.

All former ETL&P employees were offered their current position and salary at the time of the purchase. However, the manager chose not to accept the offer and John F. Meager, a TVA employee from Chattanooga was selected as the first EES manager. The Elizabethton Electric System continued to work under the Board of Directors until 2005. On April 14, 2005, the Elizabethton City Council voted to abolish the Elizabethton Electric Board of Directors and assume the board of director’s duties. On February 9, 2006, the City Council made the Elizabethton Electric System a department of the City of Elizabethton, joining three other cities in the state that are directly governed by the owning city’s governing body.

The following historic information on East Tennessee Light and Power Company (ETLPC) is extracted from the WEB page of East Tennessee State University Library. The full text and index of records available can be viewed here.


East Tennessee Light and Power Company (ETLPC) was a utility company which operated in East Tennessee and western North Carolina from the late 1920s until its purchase by the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1945. ETLPC evolved into a large corporation through its purchase of a number of smaller local and regional utility companies and through its 1941 merger with Tennessee Eastern Electric Company (TEEC). Previous to the 1941 merger ETLPC had acquired the common stock of Tennessee Realty Company, an affiliate of TEEC.

Originally incorporated in Virginia as the Tennessee Central Service Company in March 1927, the company changed its name to East Tennessee Light and Power Company (ETLPC) in October 1929. On June 1, 1929, ETLPC acquired the property and assets of the following companies: Bristol Gas and Electric Company in Virginia; Newland Light and Power Company, and Elk Park Electric Light and Power Company in North Carolina; Watauga Power Company, Bluff City Electric Light and Power Company, Erwin Electric Light and Power Company, Butler Light and Power Company, and Roan’s Creek Light and Power Company, in Tennessee. ETLPC operated in the area at the junction of the states of North Carolina (one county), Tennessee (four counties), and Virginia (two counties). The principal cities served include Bristol, Virginia; Bristol, Tennessee; Elizabethton, Tennessee; and Erwin, Tennessee.

The Tennessee Eastern Electric Company (TEEC) was incorporated in June 1912. Soon after incorporation, the company acquired the property and assets of Watauga Electric Company, Greeneville Electric Company, and Jonesborough Electric Company. TEEC provided electricity to the Tennessee counties of Washington, Greene, Unicoi, Carter, and Sullivan. The principal cities included Johnson City, Greeneville, and Jonesborough.

Both ETLPC and TEEC operated as public utilities engaged in the production, purchase, transmission, distribution and sale of electric energy. While all of TEEC’s operating revenue was derived from electric operations, electric energy comprised 92% of ETLPC’s gross operating revenue. The remaining eight percent was derived from the purchase, transmission, distribution and sale of gas.

In 1929 ETLPC purchased the common stock of the Massachusetts corporation, Tennessee Eastern Electric Company. In 1939 a plan was submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission for the merger of ETLPC with TEEC. The merger was accomplished on March 28, 1941, when TEEC was officially dissolved. East Tennessee Light and Power Company continued operations as a public utility until purchased by the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1945.

Incorporated in December 1922, the Tennessee Realty Company substantially operated for the benefit of its affiliate, TEEC. Operations included: buying and selling real estate, principally land and easements; renting property owned by the company; and holding property for its affiliate. The company owned or had options on real estate along the Holston, Watauga, and Nolichucky Rivers in the counties of Sullivan, Washington, Greene and Hawkins. In July 1936, ETLPC purchased from TEEC the entire common stock of its affiliate, Tennessee Realty Company. The parent company, ETLPC, received all revenues from, and paid all operating expenses of, Tennessee Realty Company.


Provenance: Ronald E. Brewer, a representative for the Tennessee Valley Authority, donated the East Tennessee Light and Power Company Records to the Archives of Appalachia on June 15, 1983. The Tennessee Valley Authority had acquired the records when it purchased East Tennessee Light and Power Company in 1945.

Access: The Collection is open for research.