The City of Statesville was the first municipality in the State of North Carolina to provide electric service to its citizens. As the result of this historical accomplishment, we have been recognized as the first Public Power Community in North Carolina. Public power is a national concept where municipally owned electric utilities serve their communities.
Statesville opened the door to the future by introducing electricity on February 4, 1889. It all happened when a switch was pulled and the City's first electric lights blinked on to illuminate the tiny downtown area for a momentous two hours.
Town officials probably had no idea that this was to be one of the most significant events in the history of the City. At the time, they only wanted a better alternative to gas street lamps.
In 1908, the City generators were turned off and the City began purchasing electricity from Southern Power Company in Charlotte. Subsequent contracts were signed to continue purchasing power from Southern Power Company, which later became Duke Power Company.
Statesville and 18 other cities in western North Carolina are members of the North Carolina Municipal Power Agency #1. The agency has 75% ownership interest in Catawba Nuclear Station Unit 2, which is operated by Duke Energy. The agency provides each member cities with a plentiful, reliable and affordable source of electricity.
Today, the electric utility industry finds itself on the threshold of the future. As we move forward into the new century, we are continually faced with economic, political, and industrial challenges.
In 1889, Statesville began serving its citizens with 22 carbon arc streetlights and a steam electric generator. Today, we serve over fourteen thousand customers through six delivery points and five substations and over 270 miles of distribution lines. The electric distribution system operates at 22,940 and 4,160 volts.
The American Public Power Association marked the City's 100th anniversary of Public Power with the presentation of the Century Award in 1989. Other activities included a City Council proclamation, open house event, and special recognition of electric department employees.
THE STORY OF PUBLIC POWER IN STATESVILLE (author unknown)