Columbia Power & Water Systems operates under the Board of Public Utilities of the City of Columbia, Tennessee. Formal board meetings are typically held on the fourth Wednesday of each month, beginning at 3:30 p.m. in the CPWS board room at 201 Pickens Lane.
There are five members of the Board, one of which must be a member of the City Council. Members of the Board are appointed by the Mayor and ratified by the City Council to serve staggered four-year terms.
Wes Kelley serves as Executive Director and is responsible for daily operations.
Current CPWS Board members:
Front Row (L to R): Walker Vining, Board Member; Teresa Beck, Chairman; and Eddie Campbell, Vice Chairman.
Back Row (L to R): Mike Greene, City Council Representative; Doug Venable, Board Member; and Daniel Murphy; Board Attorney.
Columbia Power and Water Systems is a public utility – owned by you, the citizens of Columbia and Maury County. We are proud to have served you since 1939 and look forward to serving you many more.
CPWS board meetings are advertised in advance and open to the public. Board members are appointed by the Columbia City Council.
CPWS’ electric policies and rate structure is regulated by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).
CPWS’ water rates are approved by the Columbia City Council with opportunities for public comment. Water quality is regulated by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC).
Investing In Our Community
Did you know that CPWS pays over $1.5 million annually in-lieu-of-taxes to local governments that are reinvested in the community?
Also, through special incentive rates to manufacturers and direct investment in community organizations, CPWS is able to support the communities economic development. CPWS is a long-term partner with the Maury County Chamber and Economic Alliance and the Middle TN Industrial Development Association.
Low Cost Services
TVA, our electric supplier, is one of the lowest cost providers of electricity in the country. TVA diverse power generation fleet provides electricity to 9 million residents in the Tennessee Valley. CPWS’ water system gets its water directly from the beautiful Duck River. CPWS’ water rates are also among the lowest in Tennessee.
CPWS is a Partner in Education with Highland Park Elementary School, supporting school attendance and academic excellence.
CPWS provides electrical safety demonstrations to Maury County public & private schools to educate students on the basics of electrical safety and provides water related educational materials to community schools.
CPWS sponsors the Roundup Program for schools as well. CPWS customers can round their power bills up to the next dollar and that money will be used for technology in the school of their choice. Participating schools include all Maury County public schools, as well as Agathos School, Columbia Academy, and Zion Christian Academy. Funds are administered by the Maury Alliance.
Many CPWS employees and retirees are active in the community in area civic groups, charitable organizations, and other activities such as volunteering their time to coach children’s sports teams, serving as Sunday school teachers, and volunteering with local charities.
All of CPWS, its equipment and retained earnings are truly owned by the customers/citizens. It is like home ownership vs. renting.
Preserving the Environment
CPWS acts responsibly as a leader in environmental protection in the community. CPWS works closely with water resource and environmental partners to protect the water in the Duck River watershed. Also, CPWS and TVA offer exciting and innovative green power options to our customers.
Promoting Energy Efficiency
For a number of years, CPWS has offered special incentives to help families install energy-efficient central heating and air conditioning systems. Programs are available to customers building new homes or upgrading older homes with energy-efficient solutions.
CPWS participates in the Good Samaritan Program that allows customers to add a dollar (or more) to their monthly electric bills, which is administered by the Family Center for distribution toward needy applicants’ utility bills.
CPWS works with the Family Center, Columbia Cares, and other church-sponsored assistance programs along with the South Central Human Resources to provide assistance to needy customers who need help paying their utility bills.
CPWS, with TVA, provides no-cost energy consultant services to local residential, commercial, and industrial customers.
Energy audits, infrared analysis, lighting analysis, and design reviews are some examples of the free advisory services we offer the community.
Hopefully, after reading the above list you will agree that CPWS does much more than just keep the lights on, water flowing, and Internet buzzing.
We believe local ownership investment is good for any utility and community, and we believe local direction and controls puts this community’s interests first above all else.
Careers at CPWS
Columbia Power and Water Systems’ (CPWS) job openings are advertised with beginning and ending dates for accepting an Application for Employment.
If you are interested in joining CPWS, we invite you to choose the method listed below that you find most convenient:
You may access CPWS’ current job opening(s) and an Application for Employment via this website or you may pick up an Application for Employment Monday through Friday from 7 A.M. until 5 P.M. from the receptionist in the front lobby of CPWS, 201 Pickens Lane , Columbia , TN 38401.
You may call the HR Manager at (931) 375-7600 to request an Application for Employment be mailed to you.
CPWS’ premises are wheelchair accessible. CPWS is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Thank you for your interest in CPWS.
Columbia Power and Water Systems
Human Resources Manager
201 Pickens Lane
Columbia , TN 38401
Tel: (931) 375-7600
The minutes of the City of Columbia record on September 30, 1811, John Hodge, William McNeil, Samuel Craig, Jeremiah Cherry, Peter Cheatham, Isaac Harden, and John M. Taylor were appointed to administer the Columbia Water Company.
According to the Century Review 1805 – 1905 Maury County, Tennessee: “By reference to “County Seat” the reader may learn about the early waterworks. The present company comes from merging the Electric Light Co., chartered January 1880, by T.B. Raines, Calvin Morgan, Lucius Frierson, T.B. Childers, Geo. L. Thomas, and J.M. Mayes, with the Water Company, created by ordinance Apr. 3, 83 (1883), to erect a reservoir on Mt. Parnassus. The plant was built by Travers Daniel, pumping station above the Duck River Bridge, with intake above all sewer outlets, and water filtering through gravel and sand. The plant has two 100 hp. engines, and the water tube boilers aggregate 400 hp. The duplicate pumps have a capacity of over 1,000,000 gallons each daily. The reservoir is 300 ft. above the river, capacity 2,000,000 gallons, and where the mains are of proper size gives good fire pressure; but for high buildings and emergencies, the city needs a modern fire engine. The capital of the Electric Light & Water Company is $100,000. There are 77 fire hydrants, seven miles of mains, and the water is said to be exceptionally good for boilers. The electric plant was rebuilt spring of 1904; has one three-phase dynamo 150 kW, one 3-phase 200 kW 60 cycle, 225 hp. engine. The city uses 60 enclosed alternating current arc lights at $75 each annually; 2,100 incandescent lamps are in use, and the plant has sufficient power for many more.”
“The Columbia Waterworks Plant … is kept in first-class repair throughout the superintendence of J.S. Robinson, who was born in Texas, 1874, and has been in charge here for several years. W.B. Dobbins, manager of this company since 1899, was born in Maury County, 1846, and has been in business at Columbia from early manhood.”
Citizens Get Power
According to the city minute book, on September 17, 1888, the mayor and aldermen passed an ordinance “to provide lighting on the streets with electric lights and power and to also supply its citizens with lights and power.”
According to the “First Annual Report to the Board of Mayor and Commissioners of Columbia, Tennessee” for Fiscal year ending June 30, 1940 of the Board of Public Utilities: “On August 16, 1939 the City of Columbia, Tennessee acquired through purchase, the properties of The Tennessee Electric Power Company in Columbia and a large area adjacent thereto in Maury County and one community in Williamson County and to accomplish this purchase sold electric revenue bonds in the amount of $800,000 dated June 1, 1939.” “At the time of the purchase of City of Columbia was with the assistance of Public Works Administration of U.S. Government engaged in building an electric distribution system in Columbia by private contract and had received from P.W.A. an advance grant of $30,600.00. While negotiations for purchase of the existing utility were under way this private control was slowed down and finally closed leaving a partially built duplicate distribution system.”
Board of Public Utilities Created
The City of Columbia on February 3, 1939 acting under the provisions of Chapter 32 of the Acts of 1935 of the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee and laws supplement thereto created a Board of Public Utilities consisting of three members for the operation of the electric system and for the transaction of such business as might arise in connection with same.” The original members of the Board were T.B. Forgey, Chairman; R.J. Harlan, temporary secretary; and W.A. Ray. On June 6, 1939, Mr. T.B. Forgey resigned from the Board and Mr. U.H. Foster was named his replacement. Mr. R.J. Harlan was elected chairman and Mr. U.H. Foster was named as temporary secretary. “The Board of Public Utilities held its first meeting on February 6, 1939 and regular meetings thereafter and on June 15, 1939 employed a manager (Mr. Robert W. Williamson) to operate the electric system under their supervision and control and on Aug. 16, 1939 began the operation of the acquired properties. On August 17, 1939 said Board designated for the operation of the electric property the title Columbia Power System as their operating agency.” Mr. Williamson was named Secretary of the Board.
According to the June 23, 1939 Board minutes, on “May 15, 1939, an agreement was entered into between Tennessee Valley Authority and the City of Columbia under the terms of which Tennessee Valley Authority agrees for a period of 20 years to supply electric current to the City of Columbia.” The Board of Public Utilities ratified and confirmed the agreement at its June 23, 1939 meeting.
On August 4, 1939, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen adopted a resolution titled “A Resolution Confirming the Sale of $800,000 Electric System Revenue Bonds of the City of Columbia” and the Board of Public Utilities ratified the resolution at its Aug. 5, 1939 meeting. On August 15, 1939 in New York City, the closing transaction on the $800,000 electric revenue bonds took place according to the August 17, 1939 minutes of the Board of Public Utilities. The Electric System was purchased from the Tennessee Electric Power Company on August 16, 1939 for $654,018.99. The Board also paid the City of Columbia $6,225.13 “for items of expense in connection with the building of an electric system and the acquisition of property of Tennessee Electric Power Company” per minutes of the August 30, 1939 Board meeting.
The first office of Columbia Power System was located at 212 West Seventh Street, which was owned by the Crescent Amusement Company and was known as the Bethel House.
According to the Board minutes of May 10, 1941, “on the 7th day of May, 1941, the Board of Commissioners of the City of Columbia, Tennessee, adopted a Resolution substituting the Board of Public Utilities of the City of Columbia for the Board of Waterworks and Sewerage Commissioners provided for in Chapter 68 of the Public Acts of 1933, and vesting in said Board of Public Utilities, all of the powers, duties, and responsibilities placed upon the Board of Waterworks and Sewerage Commissioners in Chapter 68 of the Public Acts of 1933, and granting to the Board of Public Utilities of the City of Columbia full jurisdiction over the waterworks plant, distribution system, and other things appertaining thereto.” The Board of Public Utilities ratified the Resolution and accepted “the custody, administration, operation, maintenance, and control of said Waterworks.” The City issued $425,000 in Waterworks Revenue Bonds.
In 1939-40, Columbia Power System consumers averaged paying 1.86 cents per kWh in their homes and used an average of 1,575 kWh annually.
It is Columbia Power and Water Systems’ policy to protect the confidentiality of your information. We do NOT rent or sell your information for any purpose for any service we provide.
Columbia Power and Water Systems offers many products and services. This Privacy Statement applies only to electronic payment, and other services offered through www.cpws.com. Columbia Power and Water Systems services offered through other organizations comply with the Privacy Policies of those organizations.
What Types of Information We Collect
The Personal Information that Columbia Power and Water Systems collects from or about you may include:
Contact information such as name, address, and e-mail address
Account numbers for bills you would like to pay online, bank checking account numbers and credit card information, if you decide to make payments through www.cpws.com
A password, secret question and/or secret answer to help verify your identity and authenticate your access to your information and services at www.cpws.com
How We Collect Your Information
Columbia Power and Water Systems may collect personal information about you from any of the following sources:
Your enrollment applications, or similar forms
Your use of the www.cpws.com website and services
Companies that provide content, such as electronic bills, to www.cpws.com, or that use Columbia Power and Water Systems’ electronic payment services at their sites
Consumer reporting agencies
Other sources, as allowed by law
What Information We May Disclose and to Whom
Columbia Power and Water Systems treats your personal information as confidential. Columbia Power and Water Systems does not sell or rent your personal information. Columbia Power and Water Systems does not share your personal information in a manner that differs from what is described in this Privacy Statement without your prior consent.
There are some third parties to whom we disclose personal information to ensure the accurate operation, protection, security and maintenance of the services we provide to you, as outlined below:
Companies Involved in Completing Your Transactions. In order to complete your transactions, we may disclose your personal information to those involved in a particular transaction.
Fraud or Identity Screening Services. We may share your personal information with credit bureaus, identity screening services, or other service providers to protect you and us against fraud.
Government Agencies or Authorities. We may share your personal information when we believe it is necessary to comply with the law or a court order. Columbia Power and Water Systems may make similar disclosures to protect our rights or property. We may also make such disclosures to protect the personal safety of the public or you.
Those Whom You Choose. We will share your personal information with those to whom you authorize or request disclosure.
How We Keep Your Information Secure
To ensure that your personal information remains confidential, Columbia Power and Water Systems uses Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology to transmit and receive your personal information. This technology encrypts or scrambles your personal information so it is virtually impossible for anyone other than Columbia Power and Water Systems to read it.
Additionally, we maintain physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards to help prevent unauthorized access to your personal information. We update and test our technology to improve these protections and to ensure the integrity of your personal information.
Columbia Power and Water Systems has procedures that limit employee access to your personal information to those with a business reason to have such information. We educate our employees about the importance of confidentiality and customer privacy, and we take appropriate disciplinary measures to enforce our privacy practices.
Protection for Former Customers
We treat the personal information of our former customers with the same care and respect as that of our current customers.