June 28, 2016 – Today marks the 115th anniversary of municipally-owned electric service in Kissimmee.
It was during a Kissimmee City council meeting (yes, it was called Kissimmee City at that time) on June 28, 1901, that a resolution was passed authorizing the city’s purchase of Kissimmee Electric Light Company from W.C. Maynard for $4,293.59. Maynard, a Kissimmee resident, had owned and operated the private power company in Kissimmee under contract with the city since December 4, 1900.
Upon the purchase, a committee was appointed by the council to manage the electric system.
Kissimmee is the fifth oldest municipal electric utility in the state, following Starke (1890), Jacksonville (1895), Ocala (1897) and Williston (1900).
The utility’s first power plant was a 15-kilowatt generator — enough to power just 10 Keurig coffeemakers or eight hairdryers by today’s standards. The generator supplied street lighting in the downtown business district as well as lighting for two Kissimmee homes.
Kissimmee retained a small-town flavor for most of its history. Not until the opening of Walt Disney World in the 1970s did the utility begin experiencing tremendous customer and energy demand growth.
“The pioneer vision that led the citizens of Kissimmee to vote to own and operate the city’s electric utility in 1901 has paid untold benefits to residents in the century since then,” said Kissimmee Utility Authority president and general manager Jim Welsh.
Founded in 1901, KUA (www.kua.com) is Florida’s sixth largest community-owned utility powering 70,000 customers in Osceola County, Fla.