1916: Electric power organized in Nakusp

A special meeting of the Board of Trade was called for August 9 to hear a plan to inaugurate a hydroelectric power station at Nakusp Creek.

The theme for B.C. Heritage Week is Energy in B.C. A Powerful Past, a Sustainable Future

So we take a look back to Nakusp in 1916. A special meeting of the Board of Trade was called for August 9 to hear George Horsley put forth a plan to inaugurate a hydroelectric power station at Nakusp Creek. Interest was high and George agreed to do his market research to see how many households would subscribe to electric power. It wasn’t a desperate situation, just desirable as all luxuries are.

Since there were 84 customers he was obliged to provide 28 street lights at suitable corners, each of 100 candle power. In order to comply with the government requirements, the Nakusp Electric Light and Power Company was organised on May 17, 1920, joined by George Horsley and the committee.

George knew the theory of electricity but was pretty green at the practical part of the industry. Hunter Gardener was called upon to do most of the line work and house installations.

By March of 1922, the system had grown considerably and a new schedule was agreed on with some of the following terms:

1. Meters installed free of charge

2. Meter rental was 25 cents monthly, less 20% for prompt payment.

3. The rate would be 20 cents per KWh less the 20% again for paying on time

4. The Company is committed to supply porch lights free, providing the user pays $5 for separating it from other lights.

5. Porch lights should be lowered to allow their rays to extend to the streets for greater visibility.

The provision of power to Nakusp was more than a luxury. It also provided industry a new form of energy that was safe and efficient. Examples of the changes might be: electric radios, sewing machines, heaters, hair curlers, irons, lights, newspaper production, electric hair clippers and mill machinery.

The people of the town were indebted forever to George’s persistence and courage.

Researched through “Port of Nakusp” Vol 2 of the Centennial Series

Sharon Montgomery