From STAFF REPORTS

With a new business structure installed earlier this year, the Johnson City Energy Authority Board of Directors formally adopted a new name and brand identity at a called meeting Tuesday.

Now known as BrightRidge, the electric utility serves 78,000 customers in Washington, Sullivan, Carter and Greene counties, and continues as a public, not-for-profit entity with leadership appointed by three local governments.

“This day is a long time coming, as the board and staff have spent the past couple of years educating political, business and community leaders on the need for a more independent business unit that can quickly adapt to an evolving market place,” Board Chair Dr. B.J. King said Tuesday. “I have had the opportunity to work with a number of boards and organizations, and I can say, none have worked as hard as this organization to get ready for this day.”

Founded in 1945 by Johnson City’s purchase of a territory from the Tennessee Valley Authority, the utility serves today as a key public power provider focused on providing affordable, reliable electricity. But new opportunities and challenges await, CEO Jeff Dykes said, as the utility weighs the potential launch of solar, broadband fiber and other services.

“We live in a rapidly changing market place where solar, battery storage and other alternative forms of energy are viable on an individual, industrial and residential scale,” Dykes said. “As these technologies take off, it will be up to public power providers to ensure affordable, efficient service is available to all our customers, not just those who can afford the initial and ongoing costs of these emerging technologies.”

While long known as JCPB, Dykes said it has equally long been understood that JCPB needed rebranding to better reflect the geographic scope of the customer base and position the utility for anticipated future growth.

“There are a few things we really need to stress,” Dykes said. “First of all, we remain your local public power provider and this change really impacts very little on a day-to-day basis. All individual account numbers, our physical address, and our phone number will all remain the same. Likewise, we will continue to be Johnson City and Washington County’s largest taxpayer.”

BrightRidge is now a distinct political subdivision of the state, and will continue to purchase wholesale power from TVA as it has for 72 years. BrightRidge also continues as one of TVA’s largest local power companies.