Chattanooga is served by EPB, a power distributor that started in the 1930s when the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was established under the New Deal. The sole reason for establishing EPB and other power distributors in the valley was to spur economic development and improve quality of life for underserved Appalachian communities. Now EPB serves more than 170,000 homes and businesses in a 600-square-mile area. The distributor manages 3,900 circuit miles of line, has a summer peak at 1,307 MW and 14 system interconnections to TVA, and operates 118 substations.
EPB began investing in automation technologies during the early 2000s. After years of study, the distributor began implementing a more defined smart grid strategy in 2007. The plan included several components and was slated for a 10-year construction. While implementation was in progress, the utility applied for and was awarded a matching ARRA grant from the Department of Energy (DOE). What would have been a 10-year build out occurred in three years.