Our Company and History

A non-profit agency of the City of Chattanooga, EPB was established in 1935 for the sole purpose of providing electric power to the people of the greater Chattanooga area. Today, we are still one of the largest publicly-owned providers of electric power in the country. We serve more than 169,000 residents in a 600 square-mile area that includes greater Chattanooga, as well as parts of surrounding counties (small parts of Bledsoe, Bradley, Marion, Rhea and Sequatchie) and areas of North Georgia (portions of Catoosa, Dade and Walker). EPB electric sales revenue was $457 million in 2008.

Timeline

1935 EPB is created by a private act passed by the Tennessee legislature.
1938 EPB's new Riverside Substation, near Chattanooga High School, is energized with power transmitted by TVA.
1939

January 23 EPB served its first customers - six homes in East Chattanooga from offices located at City Hall.

August 15 EPB pays $10.85 million for its portion of the TEPCO system and becomes the provider of electricity in Chattanooga, Hamilton and other surrounding counties, instantly acquiring 42,000 customers.

1940 EPB builds the downtown office building and the distribution complex at Oak & Greenwood.
1945-58 EPB's customer base grows by 70% and kilowatt-hour use increases by 288%.
1967 Rising coal prices cause TVA's residential rates to increase for the first time ever.
1970 As the energy crisis worsens, EPB shifts communications efforts from encouraging energy consumption to energy conservation.
1970 EPB installs one of the country's first computer-based SCADA systems to aid in service restoration.
1977 EPB takes over ownership of major source stations from TVA to keep rates low.
1981 EPB develops and implements the Valley's first outage management system, allowing improved restoration management and decreasing customer outage time.
1986 EPB purchases the power building adjacent to the downtown office building from TVA.
1990 EPB completes construction of Hamilton substation, 8th delivery point completion from TVA.
1992 August EPB opens the satellite customer service center on Shallowford Road.
1993 March 12 The worst snow storm in Chattanooga's recorded history, more than 20 inches fell, affecting 72,000 customers and taking 8 days to restore power at a cost of approximately $2.1 million.
1997 EPB serves 132,490 residential and 16,307 commercial customers.
1999

EPB celebrates its 60th anniversary by introducing a new logo, new symbol--a brand symbol for innovation, strength and responsiveness. The new symbol allows EPB to expand into a variety of non-power related businesses such as telecommunications and Internet services.

EPB completes construction of the Apison substation, making it the 9th delivery point for TVA. The first substation built in Chattanooga since 1990, at a cost of $4.5 million. The state-of-the-art substation more than doubles the area's previous power capacity and is EPB's first all-digitally designed substation, the first to use environmental drains and the first to use all microprocessor relays.

EPB enters into the telecommunications business and begins to assemble a staff and technical components to develop a fiber-optics-based network, providing high-speed data, local business telephone and other telecommunications services.

2000 EPB Telecom launches, providing the area with affordable, reliable telecommunications service for local area businesses.
2001

EPB goes from an in-house developed Customer Information System (on a mainframe computer) to a fully purchased integrated package (MUPS) to grow with our data needs.

EPB upgraded the traditional supervisory control and data aquisition or (SCADA) system and purchases a highly distributed upgraded SCADA System, which provided a sequence of events: power registration, buffered history and weather telemetry. Three phases allow us to see faults on the system and know outages on taps. It also has alarm systems for quicker maintenance on equipment.

MUPS improved daily processes and provided even more reliable service, while reducing the amount of non-value added paperwork, as well as decreasing labor costs.

2002

July EPB completed the public approval process, allowing EPB to provide Internet services.

March 12 Brainerd satellite customer service center opens featuring a convenient drive-thru window at Brainerd Village.

2003

EPB has the groundbreaking ceremony for our new building on M.L. King Blvd. The new 140,000 square foot building is a multi-functional building with a 500-car parking garage and first floor retail space.

June EPB completed construction of Hawthorne substation. With a capacity of 75 MVA, it provides extending the life of existing facilities and adding flexibility to contingency plans. Hawthorne eliminated the Amnicola, Mueller and Chattanooga Tech substations. It has a microprocessor-based relay that offers computerized controls vs. an electromechanical system. Also, it is equipped with the most advanced Dissipation Array System (DAS) for lightning protection.

Speedpay debuts allowing customers to pay their bills on line or via phone using a credit card, debit card, or electronic check, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

EPB Telecom launches an all-fiber high speed business Internet service, allowing EPB Telecom to compete with other telecommunications providers. It is up to 300 times faster than traditional business connections such as standard cable, DSL and T1.

November "Warm Neighbors" gets new name "Power Share" to increase awareness about the program, give examples of the different ways to donate and to let people know the need is year-round and that they can donate anytime, during any season.

2004

EPB creates new Economic Development Department to develop and maintain relationships with and provide service to commercial and industrial customers through a single source contact. The department seeks opportunities to help our customers retain jobs, to grow their businesses and to bring new business to our area. The department also plays a key role with other economic development organizations at the local, state, regional and federal levels to help recruit new industry to the Chattanooga area.

EPB and Chattanooga’s Habitat for Humanity local chapter, HabiChatt, complete a Habitat Home in just 12 weeks. This is the first Habitat home in the United States to be built by the energy efficiency methods of renowned residential energy expert, Doug Rye.

EPB becomes the first public utility in the nation to offer FixedBill™ to our customers. FixedBill allows customers to pay one fixed monthly price for power for a 12-month contract period, regardless of how much power they actually use.

2006

EPB moves into its new headquarters, a 95,000 square foot building, with attached 500-car parking garage, which represents a new standard in building science and environmental sustainability. Located on M.L. King Blvd., the building is an important part of the continuing revitalization of downtown Chattanooga.

EPB opens branch office in Hixson, with drive thru and extended hours of operation.

EPB completes construction of Cummings substation, a 161 kV to 12 kV substation that directly provides power to both residential and commercial/industrial customers after voltage reduction from the TVA grid. The Cummings substation serves 3,000 customers and will meet the growing demand of the area for years to come.

2007

EPB and Chattanooga’s Habitat for Humanity local chapter, HabiChatt, complete Chattanooga’s first EarthCraft home. Built according to EarthCraft’s stringent standards for green building and energy efficiency, the house serves both as a home to a deserving Chattanooga family and a model of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.

August EPB’s Board of Directors announce approval of a Fiber to the Home initiative designed to help generate new jobs, improve services to electric customers, and provide additional benefits – such as high speed fiber optic broadband connection – to every customer in it’s service area.

September Chattanooga’s City Council, after overwhelming public support, unanimously votes to approve EPB’s Fiber to the Home plan. EPB plans to connect its first Fiber to the Home customers in the fall of 2008.

EPB launches a Mobile Workforce Management System (MWFM), cutting-edge technology that makes locating and repairing electrical problems more reliable and efficient. By organizing, scheduling, and dispatching work orders directly to computers in EPB trucks using high speed wireless data transmission, the new system provides quicker response times and even better service to EPB’s more than 168,000 customers. GPS technology is also incorporated into the system, monitoring crew locations and status to ensure the largest possible response and repair times by cutting down travel time between jobs.

2008 EPB secures a bond to begin construction of our Smart Grid, a next-generation electric system that includes communication capabilities in order to reduce outages, improve response time, reduce theft and help customers manage their electric power usage. Building upon ten years of research and development, ours is one of the first and largest Smart Grids in the United States.
2009

Changing its name from EPB Telecom to EPB Fiber Optics, the company launches a new suite of services using the area’s only 100% fiber optic network. Fi-Speed Internet, Fi TV and Fi Phone are made available to residential customers.

November EPB is awarded a federal stimulus grant in the amount of $111 million from the Department of Energy for expediting the build and implementation of the Smart Grid.

2010

June EPB collaborates with Silicon Valley-based company, Bloom Energy, the UTC SimCenter: National Center for Computational Engineering, The Enterprise Center and TVA to install a Bloom Box on the top floor of the EPB parking garage in downtown Chattanooga. The partnership plans to evaluate the efficiency, operational and technological readiness of the alternate energy source, which is an energy server based on fuel cell technology.

September EPB announces the availability of residential symmetrical Fi-Speed Internet connect speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps - the fastest Internet by far.

2011

March EPB takes the final step in completing its fiber optic network by deploying fiber optics to the outlying community of Haletown, Tenn. The final splice makes the most powerful communication network in the world available to every home and business in EPB's 600-square-mile service area. The network also serves as the backbone for EPB's Smart Grid, which, when complete, will be the most automated system in the country.

April On April 27, EPB's entire service area is hit with the most violent, prolonged and devastating storm system in company history. Including numerous tornadoes and winds in excess of 160 mph, the storm system leaves more than 75 percent of EPB's customers without power – more than 126,000 homes and businesses to be more specific. In response, employees from throughout the company and crews from across the United States work around the clock to restore power in record time. During the restoration, the community sees many benefits made possible by EPB's Smart Grid, such as the isolation of outages and self-correction of minor problems.

Spring & Summer In response to an online survey, EPB Fiber Optics adds a total of 47 new channels to the Fi TV Essential tier of its Fi TV service. The updated Fi TV channel lineup includes more than 390 channels, including 116 in HD and 8,600 Video on Demand titles.

2012

April EPB installs the 1,170th IntelliRupter® PulseCloser, equipping their entire 600 square-mile service area with the nation’s most automated smart grid network. When an outage occurs, the IntelliRupters communicate with one another through EPB’s fiber optic communication network to determine the location of the outage. Power is automatically rerouted and restored to as many homes and businesses as possible.

The U.S. Department of Energy has estimated that the national cost of power outages for business and residential consumers is at least $150 billion annually. However, because a self-healing grid can dramatically reduce those costs, EPB expects to reduce outage duration by 40 percent.

July Strong windstorms cause an estimated 41,300 homes and businesses throughout EPB’s service area to lose power. In response, 59 IntelliRupters automatically isolated problems to affect the fewest amount of customers. Roughly 7,000 of the 41,300 customers experienced automatic restoration, which shortened their outage time. Another 35,000 could have lost power for an extended period, but instead they did not experience any outage or were automatically restored in less than five minutes.

EPB completed the restoration in less than three days. Because of their automated system, manual switching was eliminated, and dispatchers could pinpoint occurences and assign repair resources quickly. In addition, EPB’s automated metering infrastructure (AMI) system eliminated 95 truck rolls to restore power.

September In celebration of its 3rd anniversary and to thank the community for its support, EPB Fiber Optics upgrades residential customer’s Internet speeds at no additional cost.

30 Mbps > 50 Mbps
50 Mbps > 100 Mbps
100 Mbps > 250 Mbps
EPB Fiber Optics also reduced the price of residential Fi-Speed Internet 1,000 service from $349.99 to $299.99 per month.

2013

EPB completed the installation of Smart Meters in the spring for all homes and businesses in EPB’s 600 square mile service area. By integrating meters with the Smart Grid Management System, six billion data points are collected annually. This data provides automated meter reading and billing, outage and voltage anomaly detection, automated connect and disconnect and theft detection. Customers have online access to their power usage in 15-minute intervals.

EPB’s downtown headquarters building was LEED Certified in May, making the high rise the first existing commercial building in Chattanooga to obtain this certification. This is the result of five years’ worth of planning and implementing strategies that saved:

  • Nearly 6 million kWh of electricity, saving more than $420,000
  • 4,054 metric ton of CO2 emissions
  • 336,374 gallons of water
  • 59 dump truck loads of waste through recycling
  • 248,420 commuter miles through Clean Commute and Green Trips programs

On September 17, EPB Fiber Optics celebrated its fourth birthday with a third, free Internet speed increase for all residential customers. The price for a Gig (1,000 Mbps) was drastically reduced, with Fi-Speed Internet choices simplified for residential customers:

  • 100 Mbps for $57.99 per month
  • 1 Gig (1,000 Mbps) reduced to $69.99

EPB Fiber Optics commercial customers also received a free Internet speed increase.

September EPB Fiber Optics reached a milestone with 50,000 residential customers now signed up for service.

Construction of EPB’s new Distribution Center began in October.

By the end of December, EPB Fiber Optics served more than 53,000 homes and 4,200 businesses, with about 3,600 residential and commercial Gig subscribers.

2014

February 12 The community’s smart grid was put to the test by a heavy, wet snowfall. Up to 11 inches fell throughout the area, making this the biggest snowfall since the Blizzard of ’93. This storm affected about 76,000 customers, but the smart grid automatically restored or prevented about 40,000 outages. Hundreds of crews and contractors from outside of Chattanooga came to help restore the remaining 36,000 customers within three days – a job that would have required eight days to finish prior to the smart grid.

March EPB completes construction of its new Distribution Center, which brings control of EPB’s Electric Power and Fiber Optic systems into a single, state-of-the-art command center. Multiple departments and processes were brought under one roof to share cutting-edge technology, increased workspace and massive amounts of real time data. For the customer, this all means faster and more efficient response to their needs and weather related outages.

June EPB installed Remote Disconnect under the Glass (RDUG) smart meters at hundreds of Chattanooga residences. They are an extension of the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) that allows for automated connection and disconnection of electric power service. RDUG meters reduce operational costs by eliminating the need for truck rolls to homes in high turnover areas such as rental properties. As EPB expands the RDUG program in the future, the operational savings will help keep customer costs as low as possible while delivering new opportunities like pre-paid electric service.

July EPB reached an agreement with TVA and the U.S. Department of Energy to install EV (electric vehicle) chargers at its downtown public parking garage and Highland Park Operations Center. The project is designed to promote sustainability through the use of electric and hybrid vehicles. The downtown EV charging stations are available to employees and the public, while the EV charging stations at the Operations Center will energize several new, hybrid EPB bucket trucks.

July EPB files a petition with the Federal Communications Commission in an effort to respond to neighboring community requests for access to gigabit-enabled high-speed Internet service. Many communities surrounding Chattanooga either don’t have access to high-speed broadband or any Internet services at all. The FCC is considering pre-empting state laws in 19 states which either prohibit or restrict municipal high-speed broadband deployment in underserved areas.

August EPB launched Smart Build, a first-of-its-kind program that incentivizes building new homes that meet energy efficiency standards and are ready for next-generation fiber optic services. EPB Smart Build is a partnership with a growing list of local homebuilders and offers several certification benefits for new home buyers.

September Automated EZ Pay kiosks were installed in the lobbies of EPB’s Downtown, Brainerd and Hixson retail centers for the convenience of customers pressed for time who want to make secure payments on their Electric Power and Fiber Optics accounts.

September EPB Fiber Optics reached its five-year milestone of providing the Chattanooga area with data, video and voice services. Since launching in 2009, EPB Fiber Optics now serves 61,000 homes and more than 5,000 businesses.

October EPB established a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to use Chattanooga’s smart grid as a living laboratory to test and develop new energy technologies. ORNL staff scientists will participate as “Engineering Scholars in Residence” to analyze billions of data points and smart grid processes to design the electric grid of the future that further enhances reliability, security and efficiency.