Tennessee Valley Authority Property and Acquisitions Collection
Scope and Contents
The Tennessee Valley Authority Project was designed and operated by the federal government. The generation of electricity by the federal government's flood-control dams became a legal issue with the private business sector. The legal ramifications centered around the government's involvement in the sale of electricity and competition with the private power industries. In the United States Supreme Court case Tennessee Electric Power Company et al. v. Tennessee Valley Authority, arguing the constitutionality of the TVA Project, the court found in favor of TVA, because the generation of electricity was viewed as a by-product of the TVA's flood control system. The court's decision clearly stated that TVA could dispose of its by-product electricity in any manner.
The Tennessee Public Service Company was the electric utility company for Knoxville and the surrounding region.(1) In order to benefit from TVA's low power rates, the citizens of Knoxville voted by a wide margin to turn out the private company in November 1933. They proposed to build or purchase a power system for public operation. Knoxville offered to buy the existing TPS's private power plant, but TPS refused on the grounds that it would break up its integrated system extending into surrounding counties. Because a purchase agreement could not be reached by TPS and Knoxville, the Tennessee Valley Authority offered to buy out TPS and then resell the urban facilities to Knoxville. An agreement between TPS and TVA was finally reached, and the Tennessee Public Service Company was purchased by TVA for 7.5 million dollars. The acquisition of TPS by TVA was achieved in September 1938.
The Tennessee Valley Authority Property and Acquisitions Collection contains correspondence, blueprints, maps, equipment and property inventories, statistical reports, and purchase contracts involved with the purchase and acquisition of the Tennessee Public Service Company. The papers reflect the information TVA needed to finalize the take-over and are not the actual TPS records of operation. The Tennessee Public Service Records were returned to National Power and Light, the holding company for TPS.
Note: 1. The Tennessee Public Service Company was owned and operated by National Power and Light, which also owned Memphis Power and Light and several other southern utilities. The National Power and Light Company was in turn owned and operated by the holding company, Electric Bond and Share. The large holding companies of these private utilites were the prime instigators of TVA's legal difficulties.
- Creation: 1917-1941
- Tennessee Valley Authority (Organization)
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research.
Language of Materials
Boxes 1 and 2 contain correspondence, inventories, purchase contracts, and reports; Boxes 3 and 4 encompass blueprints of telephone poles and lines; and the oversized blueprints and maps are stored in map cabinets by accession number.
Method of Acquisition
The Tennessee Valley Authority Property and Acquisitions Collection was included as part of Ronald Brewer's donation of the East Tennessee Light and Power Company Records on October 11, 1988 on behalf of the Tennessee Valley Authority. The TVA Property and Acquisitions Collection was separated from the ETL&P Records because it documented the acquisition of the Tennessee Public Service Company by the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1938. The purchase of the East Tennessee Light and Power Company by the Tennessee Valley Authority did not occur until 1945.
K.Workman and Scott Schwartz completed processing in 1989.
Genre / Form
- Cocke County (Tenn.)
- Estill Springs (Tenn.)
- Jasper (Tenn.)
- Jefferson City (Tenn.)
- Knox County (Tenn.)
- Knoxville (Tenn.)
- Newport (Tenn.)
- K.Workman and Scott Schwartz
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note