About Bristol Tennessee Essential Services
Bristol Tennessee Essential Services (BTES) is a municipally-owned electric utility that also provides high-speed Internet, telephone, and cable television services over a fiber optic network. BTES is in the business of providing reliable, safe and cost-effective electric service to more than 33,000 customers in a 280-square-mile service area in the City of Bristol and Sullivan County, Tennessee. Sixty years after our inception as an electric company, BTES began providing Internet and cable television services in 2005. One year later, the BTES' telephone services were fully operational. BTES now provides some of the fastest Internet speeds available in the United States with speeds of one Gigabit per second available to every business and home in our service area!
Our electricity is provided by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a key partner with BTES since 1945. In 1998, an ice storm left all of our customers without electricity. Restoring their service became very difficult because the local telephone company was unable to restore communications between our 19 substations. Because of BTES’ commitment to reliability, we felt it necessary to build a fiber optic communication system to link these substations and to ensure that we could control our own facilities on a daily basis and in difficult times.
The fiber optic system has allowed BTES to do many things with electric service that were unheard of just a few short years ago. Those customers with fiber services to their homes have automatic power outage detection, meaning that they do not need to make a telephone call if their power goes out. In addition, the system provides automatic meter reading and theft detection.