Who We Are

Columbia Power & Water Systems (CPWS) is a public utility providing services to 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 does much more than just keep the lights on, water flowing, and Internet buzzing. We believe local direction and controls put the community’s interests first above all else.

Early Development of Columbia’s Water and Electric Utilities


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:

Expansion and Modernization of Public Utilities (1888-1940)


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:

Board of Public Utilities and Electric System Development (1939-1941)

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
  • W.A. Ray



On June 15, 1939 employed a manager (Mr. Robert W. Williamson) to operate the electric system under their supervision and control.

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.



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.

Strategic partnerships and financial decisions



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.

Expansion of responsibilities and Waterworks management



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.

Stats (1939-1940)