Power Department History
||Left photo: Lehi City’s Municipal Power Plant in a 1941 Salt Lake Tribune
Lehi Power Department History
Before the advent of electricity in Utah, many citizens’ sleeping habits were regulated by the sun. “Early to bed and early to rise” made sense when houses were dimly lit by candles and kerosene lamps. Although twenty-six kerosene lamps were installed throughout Lehi City in September of 1890, their light was dim and, in windy weather, the lamps often blew out.
It was not until 1899 that an electrical franchise was granted within the town. The Utah County Light and Power Company obtained water rights from American Fork Creek and a hydroelectric plant was constructed at the mouth of American Fork Canyon. The long-awaited electric light made its first appearance in Lehi City on the night of December 12th, 1900. The demand for power dramatically escalated as residents discovered how inexpensive it was. At thirty-five cents per month for each light bulb, homes could be lit for less that their kerosene bills.
Lehi City remained a customer of the utility, which had evolved into Utah Power and Light, until the late 1920s when conflict occurred. In June of 1925, Mayor Joseph S. Broadbent was notified by the power company that the rate of each of Lehi City’s 183 street lights was going to be tripled. The city council voted instead to create its own municipal power plant. This facility, which opened on 15 June 1927 in a new building at Third North and Fifth West, was the first municipal facility in Utah to use diesel generators.
The municipality remained in the power-generating business until 1946. The city then traded Lehi’s generating equipment to Utah Power and Light, and the city again began purchasing power from that company and distributing it to citizens over the municipalities lines. The power building built it 1927 is still in use by Lehi City Corporation.
Van Wagoner, Richard S. Pioneering Lehi City: A 150-Year Pictorial History, pages 220-221.
Copyright 2002 Lehi City Corporation.
Pioneering Lehi City: A 150-Year Pictorial History may be purchased from the Lehi City offices.