The Electric Department Celebrates Its 125th Anniversary!
On September 20, 1888, Cuyahoga Falls City Council passed resolutions authorizing the Falls Edison Electric Light and Power Company and J.A. Long, E.L. Babcock, and Samuel H. Eggs, et al, the right to erect pole lines for the purpose of supplying electric street lighting. That makes 2013 the 125 th Anniversary of the Cuyahoga Falls Electric System!
The city produced its own power until 1915 when the Gorge Power Plant began supplying power to the city. The Northern Ohio Traction and Light Company, later known as Ohio Edison and then First Energy, built the Gorge Dam in 1912 to be used for hydroelectric power for the local streetcar system and for cooling water for the Gorge Power Plant that it was building. First Energy’s Gorge Power Plant fed power to Cuyahoga Falls for 80 years. The completion of the 138 kV Valley Substation on Portage Trail Extension in 1991 allowed for the closing of the Gorge Power Plant a few years later.
In 1971, the City of Cuyahoga Falls, along with 20 other communities in Ohio, became a founding member of American Municipal Power (AMP) – Ohio. AMP was formed so that many municipal electric communities can work together to negotiate better and more affordable power supply arrangements than individual communities might obtain on their own. AMP has since grown to 129 members in the seven states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Delaware. Besides the purchase of power through membership in AMP, Cuyahoga Falls has joined with other communities to construct our own generation resources that serve a majority of our power needs. These generating resources include a hydroelectric plant, windmills, a natural gas fired plant, and the most modern clean-coal-fired plant in the United States. The latter two generating resources began commercial operation in 2012. Three hydroelectric power plants are under construction and expected to go into commercial operation in 2015 at which point 20% of Cuyahoga Falls power needs would be covered by renewable hydroelectric power. This diverse portfolio of power generating resources will help Cuyahoga Falls keep its electric rates stable for years to come!
The Electric Department is comprised of three main sections: Line, Substation/Meter, and Drafting/Purchasing. The Line Section works on all of the overhead and underground power lines. The Substation/Meter Section works on substation equipment, protective devices, and customer metering. The Drafting/Purchasing Section works on drawings, SCADA, data collection, and inventory control. Together, the people of these three sections are responsible for the great service provided by the Electric Department!
Your Home Town Power!
Since 1888, the Cuyahoga Falls Electric System has been bringing the benefits of Public Power to the residents and businesses of Cuyahoga Falls. As a Public Power Community, the City of Cuyahoga Falls offers electricity at not-for-profit rates that are significantly lower than local investor owned utilities. A rate that is advertised by for-profit companies as a price per kilowatt-hour (kWh) is not an apples-to-apples comparison to our rate. It is when all charges are added together that it can be shown how much cheaper Cuyahoga Falls Electric System power is than other companies and you see the pricing benefits of a public power system.
Besides delivery of affordable public power, the Electric Department also provides many other benefits and programs to its customers. Some of these benefits and programs include: significant power cost savings to local schools, the Light Bulb Giveaway program, the Efficiency Smart program (currently suspended pending review for renewal), the EcoSmart Choice program, the AMP Scholarship Program and the holiday tree lighting. Electricity is not billed for street lighting and city facilities such as the fire stations and City Hall. Free electricity to the Natatorium and Brookledge Golf Course enable these facilities to keep user fees low. Customers can use the online Energy Depot to help see how usage of certain products impacts their electric bill. Customers can also report street light problems online if they choose. For New Service, contact the Utility Billing Department at (330) 971-8250. ( Clicking on the hotspots will take you directly to an associated web page. Links to other Electric Department information are in the Menu to the right. )
Cuyahoga Falls purchases power through American Municipal Power (AMP), a non-profit corporation formed in 1971 that owns and operates electric facilities with the purpose of providing generation, transmission and distribution of electric power and energy to its members. AMP, acting as an aggregator, purchases wholesale power and energy for resale to its member communities. AMP also provides opportunity for its members to own a percentage of various generation plants, with facility management provided for by AMP or the majority owner of the plant. The organization also develops alternate power resources to best meet members’ short- and long-term needs. Operating an energy control center 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, AMP is always on demand to provide stable, economical power to all of its customers.
Generation ownership that Cuyahoga Falls shares with other AMP members includes: the Belleville Hydroelectric Plant on the Ohio River; the Bowling Green, Ohio wind farm; the AMP Fremont Energy Center (natural gas combined-cycle) in Fremont, OH; the Prairie State Energy Campus state of the art clean coal-fired plant in southern Illinois; and various smaller peaking power diesel and combustion turbine units throughout the state of Ohio. Cuyahoga Falls has hydroelectric generation that is still under construction on the Ohio River at the Willow Island locks and dam; the Smithland locks and dam; and the Cannelton locks and dam.
The Cuyahoga Falls Electric System utilizes two 138KV substations, one at Valley Vista Park and the other on Theiss Rd., which interconnect with First Energy and provide Cuyahoga Falls with a peak capacity of 240MW, well in excess of the system peak of 116MW recorded in 2011. With 11 distribution substations and over 308 miles of overhead and underground distribution lines, this power is then distributed through over 3,700 transformers to more than 24,000 electric customers. More than 30 Electric System employees work to maintain the distribution system and provide quick response to emergencies and power outages so that our customers will continue to receive nothing but the best service at the lowest possible cost for years to come.