Power To The People

Nantahala Power and Light (NP&L) was a small, localized company serving only the westernmost counties of North Carolina. However, its arrival in the Appalachian mountains brought fundamental changes to the lives of many. Individual rural communities were transformed, and some were even relocated to different areas. A closer look at the rural Appalachian communities in the days before electricity, the areaís demand for power, and some firsthand accounts of those who experienced electrification provide much insight into NP&L's role in the development in the region.

The rural electrification of America was an extensive mission, carrying with it many effects and benefits. The electrification by NP&L into the rural mountainous areas of western North Carolina was part of this movement. These people endured the change of landscape, the cost of displacement, and a well-known way of life, for the promise of modernization that electricity would bring.

Progress was still a major theme to the company in 1991 when NP&L connected its transmission lines to Duke Power and the company became part of the southeast power grid. Today, NP&L is a division of Duke Power and continues to supply hydroelectric power for the comfort and progress of western North Carolina communities.

© Western Carolina University

NOTICE: WARNING CONCERNING COPYRIGHT RESTRICTIONS The digitalized exhibit ìWatts in The Mountains: Rural Electrification in Western North Carolinaî is the sole property of Western Carolina University. As such, all materials presented in this exhibit are protected under the current law of the United States (Title 17, U. S. Code) that governs the making of copies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Fair use under the law permits reproduction of single copies for private study or research. Further transmission, reproduction, or presentation of protected items without the written permission of the copyright owners is forbidden This institution reserves the right to refuse any additional copying petitions if, in its judgments, fulfillment of the request would involve violation of the copyright law.