history

History of Alpena Power Company

George N. Fletcher, Founder
Alpena Power Company 1881-1904

george21881 – October 10. The Alpena Electric Light Company held its first Director’s Meeting. The Company was formed for the “manufacture and production of electricity and electrical lights to supply the City of Alpena and the inhabitants thereof”. Company business was conducted from the Fletcher, Pack & Company Offices.

On the inside cover of the Minute Book of the Alpena Electric Light Company, there is an undated newspaper clipping which refers to Ordinance No. 42, New Series, relative to granting to Thompson-Huston Electric Company and assigns permission to establish electric works in the City of Alpena. First entries in the Construction accounts are dated, November 30, 1881. “From entries in the book, it is evident that the Company was operating arc lights for commercial customers before 1882.” This quotation from the Michigan Public Service Commission Accountant’s Report of 1932 is to determine the original cost of Alpena Power Company.

Albert Pack was Chairman of the Alpena Electric Light Company.

1886 – Lights in service in Alpena consisted of: 63 Arc Lights and 4 Incandescent.

1890 – The stockholders of the Company purchased a 1,300 volt Thompson-Huston Incandescent Lighting Plant.

December 9. The Company had its first involvement with the Alpena Water Company and rented and leased all water rights, privileges, and interests which it had in the property; then purchased from Morse Manufacturing Company, including all booming privileges and control of entire property – except such portions of said property being used by the Alpena Water Company.

1891 – Purchased boilers and moved them to the Water Company Dam (Richardson Mill Dam) in order to operate it as a steam plant for the production of electricity.

1893 – May 10. The sawmill machinery was removed from the Richardson Water Mill at the Ninth Street Dam. The sawmill was operated by water power.

1898 – October 12. A new powerhouse was erected on the north side of the Thunder Bay River at the Ninth Street Dam.

The City of Alpena paid $60.00 per year for 54 street lights.

The railroad was completed to the site of the new pulp mill at Broadwell Dam and the ground was cleared for the construction of the dam. Broadwell Dam was on the present site of the Four Mile Dam, and construction of the Four Mile Dam was started at this time.

1900 – April 12. The Groundwood Mill at the Four Mile Dam begins operations.

1902 – The Alpena Electric Company acquired the Alpena City Water Company including the Hubbard Lake Dam. Construction of Four Mile Dam was completed.
 

Frank W. Fletcher, Chairman
Alpena Power Company 1905-1922

frank21905 – The Alpena City Water Company water system and shore pump were sold to the City of Alpena.

Alpena Power Company Limited was formed – a subsidiary of the Alpena Electric Light Company.

1906 – November 28. The Alpena City Water Company works were shut down permanently. Note: The old Alpena City Water Company used water power from the Richardson Dam for pumping water through the intake pipe that extended to Trowbridge Point where the present Lafarge Cement Plant is located. The pumping station was later located on Broadwell Street, with water pumped from the river at the dam only when additional water pressure was required to put out fires. The Broadwell Street pumping station pumps were run by steam for many years, but later they were converted to electricity.

The original generator at Four Mile Dam was put in use as soon as it was installed. Whenever there was not sufficient water to operate the generator for power to the city, the turbines running the wood grinders, were shut down.

1909 – Construction started on the Ninth Street Dam, located in front of the old Richardson Dam. In March of 1910, the powerhouse with log chute, spillway and three gates were completed. By fall, the new powerhouse was in operation. In March of 1911, there were seven gates with spillways.

1912 – Fall. The first generator was installed at Four Mile Dam.

1915 – The Alpena Electric Light Company had approximately 800 customers.

1917 – The franchise for the Alpena Electric Light Company was discontinued.
 

Philip K. Fletcher, Chairman
Alpena Power Company 1923-1951

phillip21923 – Alpena Power Company Limited was dissolved and the Company became known as Alpena Power Company.

1930 – Ninth Street Substation was built.

1934 – Alpena Power Company’s main offices were moved to the Campbell Building on North Second Avenue.

1935 – Construction of the Upper South Dam.

1938 – The Thunder Bay Steam Plant was built and put in operation on Alpena Power Company lines. This plant was later purchased by the Company, when Thunder Bay Quarries closed in Alpena.

1948 – A 2,500 KW steam turbine, at Fletcher Paper Company, was connected to the Alpena Power Company system. The Thunder Bay Steam Plant was purchased by the Company and the Fletcher Paper Distribution Substation was built.

1951 – Besser Distribution Substation was built.
 

Harry Fletcher, Chairman
Alpena Power Company 1952-1956

harry2

1953 – Thunder Bay Manufacturing Distribution Substation was built.

1954 – Southwest Distribution Substation was built.

1955 – The Hillman Water & Light Company was purchased by Alpena Power Company.

Northeast Distribution Substation was built.

1956 – An interconnection with Consumers Power Company was established giving Alpena Power Company a 140,000-volt interconnection to the Bulk Power Grid.
 

Ralph G. Fletcher, Chairman
Alpena Power Company 1957-1972

ralph2

1957 – South Distribution Substation was built.

1958 – The Company’s main office moved to the McCoy Pointiac Building on Third Avenue.

Long Lake Distribution Substation was built.

1960 – Huron Portland (now Lafarge) Distribution Substation was built.

1961 – Hospital Distribution Substation was built.

1963 – Ossineke Distribution Substation was built.

1964 – The Company’s main office was moved to 310 N. Second Avenue.

1966 – Ontario Distribution Substation was built.

1968 – Gennrich Distribution Substation was built.
 

Stephen H. Fletcher, Chairman
Alpena Power Company 1972-Present

stephen2

1975 – Hubbard Lake Distribution Substation was built.

1976 – Abitibi (now DPI) Distribution Substation was built.

1978 – Norway Distribution Substation was built.

1979 – Bagley Distribution Substation was built.

Cost of power based on 500 kilowatt hours – $17.95

1980 – Rockport Distribution Substation was built.

Alpena Power Company issues its first Energy Thrift Note.

1983 – APC had 14,484 customer meters.

1984 – Hillman Dam repaired.

1985 – Ninth Street Dam renovation begins.

APC donates the Coomb’s Chevrolet Building to the Village of Hillman.

APC donates 6,000-acre Fletcher Pond area, housing Osprey population to the Thunder Bay Audubon Society.

1986 – Potter Field Substation is built.

1987 – April. Short Circuit Club, near Four Mile Dam, damaged by fire.

May. Hillman generating station damaged by fire.

1989 – Historical mural painted on Water Street building by Alpena artist.

March. Four Mile Dam Repairs begin. The project is in excess of one million dollars.

April. Norway Dam head lowered ten feet for study and repair.

1990 – August 31. All hydroelectric generation power plants sold to Thunder Bay Power Company of Traverse City: Ninth Street Dam, Four Mile Dam, Norway point Dam, Hillman Dam, Hubbard Lake Reservoir Dam and Upper South Reservoir Dam.

1991 – July. Ninth Street addition of Operations Offices includes 3,900 wquare feet of new construction.

1993 – November. New Progress Street Substation in Hillman was constructed to serve APC customers.

June. Completion of over one-million-dollar North Side rebuild project, which converts existing 4,160 volt system to 13,200 volts.

1994 – March. Village of Hillman election granted APC a ten-year irrevocable franchise to supply service to the area.

September. Thirty-year contract signed with Consumers Power Company.

November. Received 30-year franchises to provide service to the townships of: Green, Long Rapids, Maple Ridge, Caledonia and Wellington.

1996 – March. Eight-year contract negotiated with Lafarge Corporation.

September. Central Substation is energized. It replaced existing sub built in 1926. The two transformers are 10,000 KVA and 3,750 KVA.

Between 1996 and 2004 capacity was increased at eight substations to enable APC to serve its customers’ growing demand for electricity.

1999 – North Industrial Substation was built.

2000 – M-32 Substation was built.

APC had about 15,400 customers.

2001 – The South Side rebuild project, which converted the existing 4,160 volt system to 13,200 volts, was completed. The project was started in 1995 and cost more than $1,700,000.

2002 – Voltage conversion of the center and southside of the City of Alpena was completed; Central substation in full service at 13,800 volts. Ninth Street 4,106 volt distribution substation decommissioned.

2003 – Phase one of the SCADA system (remote monitoring & control of substations) was completed, with all substations connected to the Operations Center. Phase two started, where additional equipment would be installed to monitor all individual distribution circuits.

2003 to 2005 – Transformers at Gennrich and Potter Field Substations were replaced with 40 MVA units.

2006 – Ninth Avenue Garage was renovated to provide additional office space. All employees were relocated to the facility.

2007 – APC had about 16,300 customers.

2009 – APC begins a multi-year project to begin rebuilding the 34.5 kV transmission system.

2010 – APC begins to install fiber optic cable to substations allowing for real time monitoring and control of substations.

2012 – The new Lafarge Substation is completed increasing the capacity to 40 MVA.

2013 – Northeast Substation is rebuilt.

2014 – The DPI substation is rebuilt.

APC begins the Automatic Meter Reading project where all customer meters would be replaced with solid state meters allowing for “drive by” meter reading.

2015 – APC donates the former Headquarters building on Second Avenue to Target Alpena for demolition and redevelopment of the site.

2016 – APC begins a multi-year project to rebuild the 138 kV lines between Four Mile Substation and Gennrich Substation.

2017 – The Besser Substation is rebuilt, this marks the removal of the last electro-mechanical relay on the system and is the last substation to have real time monitoring and control.

2020 – Hubbard Lake Substation Transformer #2 is replaced with a 5 MVA unit.

2021 – Gennrich Transformer #1 is replaced with a 40 MVA unit.

APC begins a joint, multi-year project with ITC to replace the Four Mile Substation and interconnection to the bulk power grid.

APC completed the rebuild of Piper Rd. Junction which includes a second, underground feed into Ossineke Substation.

TODAY – APC has about 16,550 residential, commercial and industrial customers in the Alpena area.

The APC service area covers most of Alpena County and portions of adjacent counties, about 250 square miles. In addition, the Company maintains 605 miles of overhead transmission and distribution lines and 67 miles of underground line.

There are currently 33 full time, highly skilled employees on staff.

APC purchases 100% of its power requirements. About 85% of that is purchased from Consumers Energy with the balance purchased from Thunder Bay Power, Wolverine Electric Power Cooperative, Lafarge and DPI.