NES is celebrating its 75th anniversary of providing service to the people of Middle Tennessee. Our story is one of humble beginnings, challenges, incredible growth and an unwavering commitment to meet the electrical power demands of a growing city.
NES was founded on August 16, 1939, with a mission to provide safe, efficient and reliable electric service. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) purchased the power producing and distributing properties of Tennessee Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) for $78.6 million – of which $14.2 million was contributed by the Nashville City Council, effectively reorganizing the city’s power program under NES.
As part of the purchase, TVA acquired TEPCO’s coal-powered steam plant which was subsequently deemed unnecessary for the production of power – its closure resulted in cleaner city air. Over the years, residents moved into new electricity-ready homes and began to enjoy refrigerators, air conditioning and washing machines. Safety increased as streets were illuminated by electric lights. Companies relocated or expanded operations in Nashville in light of the lower power rates.
During World War II, NES helped contribute to the war effort by enforcing restrictions on power usage. In the 1970s, NES spread the message of conservation as the country faced a severe energy crisis. And when downtown Nashville experienced its greatest growth in the 1980s and 90s, NES increased the load capacity of its system. In recent years, NES has weathered natural disasters, including a 1,000 year flood in 2010, forcing the utility to rebuild significant portions of the electrical system in order to restore power.
Today, we are one of the 12 largest public electric utilities in the United States, serving more than 370,000 customers. NES is one of only 29 utilities in the country to receive the industry’s highest honor for safety and reliability from the American Public Power Association. The RP3 Diamond Award has been presented to NES three times in a row.
Check out our Facebook album for photos throughout NES’ history.