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History of Muscle Shoals Electric Board

On May 18, 1933, President Roosevelt signed into law the Tennessee Valley Authority Act creating the Tennessee Valley Authority which took over the operation of electrical production facilities at Wilson Dam.

On July 30, 1933, Muscle Shoals Mayor George L. McBride submitted a formal resolution of the City of Muscle Shoals requesting electric service to the town of Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

In Muscle Shoals City prior to October of 1933, there were three small distribution systems operated by real estate developers, only one of which was receiving electric service. The area receiving service was the Highland Park section operated by the Muscle Shoals Land Company, and power was being furnished by some diesel electric sets.

The City developed ownership arrangements with the owner of the privately owned distribution system serving Highland Park, and on October 14, 1933, the distribution system in the Highland Park area was connected into the distribution system of the fertilizer works, and thus TVA power was made available to approximately 24 residential customers in Muscle Shoals. The city was unable to obtain sufficient capital to purchase the remaining two private systems and to provide electric service to all the residents of Muscle Shoals, and the city requested the Tennessee Valley Authority to take over and operate their municipal electric distribution system since they were not in a position to make the necessary extensions.

At this time in August 1934 there was a total of 60 connected customers in Muscle Shoals with a monthly revenue of approximately $150. Credit was extended to the electric department, and during the ensuing year the city managed to obtain some pole line material and connect the other two small distribution systems to the Highland Park section so that by November 1934, 25 additional customers were being served.

The patchwork system soon became entirely inadequate to serve the growing needs of the customers who, incidentally, established the highest average use in kilowatt-hours per customer in the Tennessee Valley; and it became necessary to rebuild the entire system. The city's investment in electric facilities had reached $9,600 by 1935, and it was decided to abandon the antiquated patchwork system and construct a new system. This was accomplished by the aid of a $14,000 grant and an $18,000 loan from the Public Works Administration.

On January 19, 1935, the City of Muscle Shoals executed their first 20-year power contract with the Tennessee Valley Authority which provided for electric power in the amount of 750 kilowatts.

New residential construction within the city proceeded with a relatively high pace, and in 1944, ten years after the establishment of the electricity department, they were serving a total of 344 commercial and residential customers and no industrial customers. The value of the system was approximately $38,750, the entire distribution system had been paid for by the customers out of the earnings, and all of the original system installed by the real estate operators had been retired.

Today, in 2016, 83 years after the establishment of the electricity department, 7,887 customers receive service with annual revenues of approximately $28 million and assets of $34 million. The city has a modern electric system adequate to take care of present needs and future loads occasioned by new customers building homes and businesses in the city.

Our Board of Directors meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 4:30pm at our main office.  Meeting notices and/or changes are posted in our lobby.

This history compiled and written by past managers and updated by present Manager, Matt Bernauer.

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