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Public Power Celebration
Posted on 02/04/2022

Happy Birthday Statesville Electric Utility!

You are 133 years old today which means that public power in North Carolina is also celebrating 133 years of service! Public power is electric service provided by a city or town.

Back in the late 1800s, investor-owned utilities were not paying any attention to the smaller towns and rural areas. Statesville leaders realized that if they wanted their town to grow, they were going to have to produce power themselves. A bond election authorizing $8,000 was held to finance the project and a site for the plant (near N. Center St.) was purchased for $350.

On February 4, 1889, a switch was flipped, illuminating several electric street lights in the downtown area for about two hours. The plant continued to expand as the number of customers increased, but by 1908, Statesville ceased producing electricity and began purchasing it from Southern Power Company (later became Duke Power) and distributing it throughout the town.

By being a public power community, Statesville residents are the owners of the electric system and can go directly to the people who make decisions about rates and service issues. Statesville Electric Utility has very competitive rates and an extremely impressive reliability rating. Their response to emergencies is consistently praised for its promptness and professionalism. Congratulations for 133 years of hometown power!