Since electricity is the largest single expense in smelting aluminum, it was needed at a price that would make the finished product affordable, and hydropower was the most economical method for Alcoa Inc.’s purposes.
Today, while Alcoa Inc. transferred the electricity distribution system to the City of Alcoa in 1956, it still owns the dams. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) operates the dams and credits Alcoa Inc. for the electricity they generate. The legacy of the Little Tennessee River power source is the Alcoa Electric Department.
Because of Alcoa Inc.’s massive development in the early part of this century, we now serve 26,000 Blount County customers. In the early days, the residents benefited primarily by rural electrification and a huge economic impact made by Alcoa Inc. Today, residents benefit primarily by a long-standing tradition of low rates and local customer service.