role of economics has greatly influenced electrification in rural
sections of the Appalachian Mountains. Locally, in western North
Carolina, the economics of electrification has affected the business
policies of NP&L and the fiscal stability of many surrounding
While NP&L offered the lowest rates
and created a large consumer base for electricity, it also accumulated
a debt. Since its opening in 1929, the NP&L division of ALCOA
consistently offered the lowest rates for electricity among other
local electric companies. The low rates created a higher demand
for electrification. Between 1933 and 1936, the number of NP&L
customers rose from roughly 510 to nearly 720. Comparatively,
from the 1945 Meter Reading Schedule NP&L customers amounted to
3,741, excluding local factories and businesses. The increase
of customers caused a rise not only in the total kilo-watt
hours produced, but it also raised the company's total revenue
and improved the fiscal stability of some rural communities.
While the company maintained a consistent
demand for electricity from its rural communities, ALCOA annually
through its 17 million dollar investment
in NP&L. NP&L had the highest investment rate per customer,
per farm because of the scattered, rural population of its customers.
NP&L did not serve large businesses or towns that exceeded
2,000 in population and the average income per farm, per square
mile was well below the average for the state of North Carolina.
Yet, according to a taxation valuation appeal the company's earnings
amounted to 2.8% of invested capital with little to no prospect
for an increase.
In conclusion, NP&L shaped local
communities through its service of rural electrification. More
specifically, the company's total revenue affected the economic
stability of some local communities. In turn, these communities
have shaped the business practices, policies, and fiscal existence
of NP&L. In addition, the company even raised the taxation value
the state of North Carolina.