KISSIMMEE, Fla., June 28, 2017 – Today marks the 116th 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 financed the private power company in Kissimmee under contract with the city since December 4, 1900.
Kissimmee forged a harmonious relationship with Maynard to build and operate the light plant until the city was able to pay for it. The city sold $5,000 in bonds to finance the purchase. The bonds were sold in denominations of $500 apiece and were subscribed within hours of being issued. Residents got electric lights two to five years earlier than they would have had the city chosen not to enter into the joint venture.
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 to replace smoky kerosene lamps, as well as lighting for two Kissimmee homes.
“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 72,000 customers in Osceola County, Fla.