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Built in 1888 by James F. Crumley, the original electric plant was to be succeeded by the Watauga Lighting and Power Company as early as 1891. This would not be the last time the company would change hands. On August 1, 1902, the Johnson City-Jonesborough Electric Light and Power Company purchased the Watauga Lighting & Power Company.
About 1911, a group of men conceived the idea of building a hydroelectric power plant on the Nolichucky River near Greeneville and of purchasing the electric companies operating in Greeneville, Jonesboro [Jonesborough], and Johnson City. A transmission line was built from the hydroelectric plant to bring a power supply to these cities and, thus, the Tennessee Eastern Electric Company was born. The Tennessee Eastern Electric Company continued to expand through the years adding a steam plant at Watauga, Tennessee in 1921 and raising the height of the dam on the Nolichucky River in 1925. In 1929, a new corporation, East Tennessee Light & Power Company, was formed to take over the electrical distribution. By 1939, the lines of this company served an area in excess of 4,000 square miles, operating in nine counties, 90 towns and cities of more than 102,000 customers. The company also sold wholesale to other electric distributing companies. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) acquired the East Tennessee Light and Power Company early in 1945. On March 2, 1945, a contract between the City of Johnson City and the TVA was executed whereby TVA would be the electric distributor for this area. By Resolution of the City of Johnson City on June 18, 1945, at 7pm, authorized City Officials to execute and deliver to the TVA a definite Contract, captioned "Sale Agreement" for the purchase by Johnson City from or through said Authority of an electric distribution system serving portions of Washington, Sullivan, Greene, and Carter Counties, at a base price estimated at $2,002,500.00.
Allen Harris was the first Chairman of the Board of Directors of Johnson City Power Board. F.O. Miller was the first Plant Superintendent. Charles F. Stine became Plant Superintendent on October 12, 1945, and served as Manager until his retirement in September 1967. Roy L. Taylor was appointed Manager at the September 1967 Board Meeting, and served until December 31, 1990. Allen L. Phipps was appointed General Manager effective January 1, 1991. Daniel B. Dexter was appointed General Manager effective July 1, 1996. Doyle Walters was appointed Interim General Manager January 6, 1997, and later became General Manager June 24, 1997. Homer D. G'Fellers was appointed General Manager March 1, 2004, which became effective June 4, 2004. In December 2009, Homer D. G’Fellers was re-named President and Chief Executive Officer. Beginning, January 1, 2013 Jeff Dykes assumed the position of Chief Executive Officer.
In March 2017, Johnson City leaders advocated for state legislation to adopt a new, more flexible business format for JCPB, which resulted in a modern energy authority charter. Following this charter, Johnson City Power Board became Johnson City Energy Authority.
On Tuesday, October 3, 2017, at a special-called Board Meeting Johnson City Power Board changed its name to BrightRidge. BrightRidge remains a not-for-profit, local power company. There was no corporate buy-out or merger; only a name change. The nine-member local Board of Directors continues to serve, as well as the same management and employee team. Also, BrightRidge continues to purchase the electricity sold to its customers from TVA.
The first Annual Report of Johnson City Power Board reflects that it was serving a total of 9,778 customers. A total of 46,303,924 kilowatt hours were sold during this first year of operation. The Power Board purchased a total of $219,139.99 of electricity from the TVA during its first year of operation. The most recent financial figures show that last year BrightRidge purchased over $149,158,110 worth of electricity from the TVA in order to serve approximately 78,600 metered customers.