The City of Bristol, Virginia, on June 30, 1945, purchased from the Tennessee Valley Authority the electric distribution facilities of the former East Tennessee Light and Power Company. Bristol Virginia Power Board was created to manage the electric system. On November 13, 1951, the Power Board was succeeded by the Utilities Board, created by Article V of The City Code (Sections 2-25 through 2-28), as provided for in the Code of Virginia, Section 15.1-292, to manage the Electric Power and Light System, the Water System, and Sewerage System of the City. Electric power was purchased from the Tennessee Valley Authority from June 1945 until December 31, 1997, when BVU changed power suppliers and began purchasing power from Cinergy Corporation, Cincinnati, Ohio.


BVU´s water treatment plant, constructed in 1954 with a 5 million gallons per day capacity, was expanded to a capacity of 10 million gallons per day in 1978. Raw water is pumped approximately two miles from South Holston Lake to the filtration plant, where it is treated by the \"rapid sand\" filtration process. The treatment plant is located on Route 75, about 3 miles south of Abingdon, Virginia.

BVU administers a sewer collector system in Bristol, Virginia and a portion of Washington County, Virginia, which flows to a 15 million gallons per day wastewater treatment plant in Sullivan County, Tennessee. The wastewater treatment plant is jointly owned by Bristol, Virginia and Bristol, Tennessee. A unique feature of the plant is a state of the art in-vessel composting facility, which combines sludge from the treatment plant with wood waste collected throughout the two Cities to produce a high quality composted material very useful in landscaping and soil amendments.