Alameda Municipal Power is the oldest municipal utility west of the Mississippi River and among the oldest in the nation.

  1. In the Beginning
  2. Moonlighting & Street Lights
  3. Power in the City
  4. Scandal
  5. Progress Marches On
  6. The 1990s
  7. New Energy Crisis & Power & Telecom
  8. Back to the Future

In 1885, the Jenney Electric Company, under contract with the City, constructed a small 90-kilowatt generating plant at what is now the corner of Park Street and Otis Drive, the site of the present Ann B. Diament Senior Plaza. Also installed were 13 iron masts, 12-feet high, from which clusters of arc lamps furnished street lighting. The cost of this installation was $20,000, and the operating cost to the City was $9,720 per year.

Apparently, it was the intention of the City’s Board of Trustees to purchase the plant upon assurance of its successful operation. However, in 1887, the price had increased to $40,000, $15,000 of which was to be diverted from funds allocated to sewer improvements, and the balance was to be financed through a bond issue.

The purchase price and source of funding set off quite a bit of controversy. There were those who thought the price was too high, and figures were given showing that it would take 101 years to pay off the debt. But on Monday evening, July 11, 1887, Alameda’s Board of Trustees considered the matter, voted to proceed, and Alameda entered the power business.