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Virginia Electric & Power Company

by James L. Hunt, 2006

The Virginia Electric & Power Company was organized in 1909 and initially owned and operated electric street railways and streetlights in Richmond, Va. In the 1920s the company expanded its business into northeastern North Carolina. By 1928 Virginia Power operated approximately 30 miles of electric distribution lines in the state, all near the Virginia border in eastern North Carolina. By 1950 the company served about 30,000 North Carolina customers through more than 2,000 miles of distribution lines.

In the 1950s and 1960s Virginia Power greatly expanded its North Carolina operations. Most significantly, after a protracted legal contest that was resolved in 1953 in the U.S. Supreme Court, Virginia Power built a dam and power plant on the Roanoke River at Roanoke Rapids. A second large hydroelectric dam, Gaston, was also constructed by the company on the Roanoke River.

Despite long-term growth in revenue and customers, the North Carolina operations of Virginia Power suffered several significant setbacks after 1970. Nonetheless, the company remained one of the state's leading utilities. In 1991 North Carolina Power (after 1985 the name of an unincorporated division of Virginia Power that oversaw North Carolina operations) had more than $140 million in annual sales in 20 northeastern counties, including the northern Outer Banks. North Carolina Power provided electricity to more than 94,000 customers. By the early 2000s the company was the third-largest privately owned supplier of electric service in North Carolina.

Reference:

Erwin H. Will, The Past, Interesting; the Present, Intriguing; the Future, Bright: A Story of Virginia Electric and Power Company (1965).

Additional Resources:

Dominion Virginia Power: https://www.dom.com/

Dominion North Carolina Power: https://www.dom.com/dominion-north-carolina-power/index.jsp

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Copyright notice

This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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