The City of Salem owns and operates its own electricity distribution system. The Electric Department was established in 1892. It purchases energy wholesale from American Electric Power (AEP). Salem also receives a small portion of its energy from an allocation of federal hydropower from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Philpott Hydro Project through the Southeastern Power Administration. Blue Ridge Power Agency assists the city with securing and administering its wholesale power supply arrangements. Approximately 12,500 electric customers are served by the City.
The Electric Department presently operates and maintains 11 substations and one transmission switching station. The transmission system consists of a network of approximately 20 miles of lines that tie the substations together and to the four tie points with the AEP system. The distribution system originates at the 11 substations and consists of about 160 miles of overhead and 30 miles of underground distribution.
The department also furnishes streetlights and dusk-to-dawn lights and maintains traffic signals at 37 intersections in the City.