The historical–geographical construction of power: electricity in Eastern North Carolina

PDF Document

It appears your Web browser is not configured to display PDF files. Download adobe Acrobat or click here to download the PDF file.


Creative Commons Licence



Contributed date

April 24, 2020 - 9:50pm

Critical Commentary

The attached paper analyzes the creation of the uneven distribution of electricity throughout Eastern North Carolina, tracing the history of the energy distribution from the introduction of utilities to now. The author dives into the different organizational structures of energy utilities, how each were designed to service different socioeconomic groups throughout the region, and how the non-regulation of electricity organizations in the area inherently disadvantages lower income families.

By putting a direct focus on the role of electricity utilities and the historical-geographical development of energy infrastructure, the author addresses the way the energy system was built to encourage continual mass consumption of electricity in order to match the assumed increases in demand. The author argues that what was initially a stable market between government, generator and utility began to "unravel in the 1970s", eventually leading to a system that leaves people in Eastern North Carolina easily susceptible to energy vulnerability.

The document provides strong conceptual framework for battling against energy injustices and picking apart the historical-geographical roots that likely afflict consumers beyond the borders of Eastern NC. Examining the ways in which these structures were originally developed & have interacted since inception provides greater insight towards region-wide energy difficulty; if the individual experiencing vulnerability is put under a historical & electric-habit driven microscope, governments and regulatory agencies deserve similar scrutiny. The author posits that market liberalisation and electricity deregulation would prove primary directions of putting greater power into the hands of consumers, granting greater control towards avoiding becoming energy vulnerable. 


Harison, Conor. (2013). The historical-geographical construction of power: electricity in Eastern North Carolina. Local Environment,
Vol. 18, No. 4, 469–486,



Group Audience

  • - Private group -

Cite as

Conor Harrison, "The historical–geographical construction of power: electricity in Eastern North Carolina", contributed by Cam LaPorte, The Energy Rights Project, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 5 May 2020, accessed 13 July 2024.–geographical-construction-power-electricity-eastern-north-carolina