Calgary Power Company

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Calgary Power Company

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The founding of the Calgary Power Co. Ltd. with the opening of its Horseshoe Falls hydroplant in 1911 brought large-scale, central-station-generated electricity to Alberta. Previously, part-time service had been supplied by small, privately-owned plants. Calgary Power's founder and first president was W. Max Aitken (later Lord Beaverbrook), and the headquarters was in Montreal. The company contracted to provide power for Calgary, the Canada Cement Plant (Exshaw), and Cochrane. The company was sold to Izaak Walton Killam in 1919. Killam owned Montreal Engineering Co. and the two firms had close ties. In the 1920s Calgary Power bought out other companies including Okotoks Electric Co., Calgary Water Power Co., and Wetaskiwin Utilities. Other companies were acquired and new hydroplants built in the following years. The company's "Modern All-Electric Kitchen" trailer toured Alberta in the 1930s to promote the use of electricity in the home. In 1947 the company head office was moved to Calgary. By that year 99% of Alberta's power came from the company, and divisional offices were in Edmonton, Camrose, Wetaskiwin, Calgary and Lethbridge. A Red Deer office opened in 1952. Rural cooperative associations were assisted by Calgary Power's non-profit subsidiary, Farm Electric Service, in electrifying Alberta's rural areas. This was fairly complete by 1958. In 1951 Calgary Power became the first remotely controlled hydro system in North America. In the 1950s it turned to thermal generating plants powered by coal and natural gas. During the mid-1950s Calgary Power sponsored radio programs called "Here's Alberta - People and Places" and "Calgary Power Discovers", which were broadcast on CFCN, CFRN, CHAT and CJOC. The company's name was changed to TransAlta Utilities Corporation in 1981. For further information see TransAlta Utilities : 75 Years of Progress / [Sue Andruschuk, writer/editor]. -- [Calgary : The Company, 1986] and Powering Generations : The TransAlta Story, 1911-2011 / TransAlta Corporation. --Calgary : Kingsley Publishing Services, 2011.


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