Electric History

In 1894, by a vote of 103-5, the residents of Anaheim decided to start their own electric utility. They believed that owning and operating a not-for-profit electric utility was in their economic self-interest. Within a year, the city of Anaheim was operating the area's first city-owned electric utility, bringing 145 electric incandescent bulbs and 22 arc lights to downtown Anaheim.

Today, more than a century later, Anaheim Public Utilities continues to operate as the only municipal electric utility in the county. Our system delivers electricity to Anaheim's 345,000 residents and more than 15,000 businesses, including a multi-million dollar tourism, sports and manufacturing customer. Anaheim's electric system has grown to support a customer base of more than 593,000 kW annual peak demand and using 2.6 billion kilowatt-hours a year.
Men installing underground electric cable
Electric Timeline
  • 1895 - Municipal electric system commences operation serving a consumer base of 145 incandescent bulbs and 22 arc lamps.
  • 1895-1916 - City generates its own power.
  • 1916-1976 - City purchases its power supply from Southern California Edison Company.
  • 1968-1975 - Faced with increasing Edison wholesale rates (up 52% or $6.6 million in 1973), the city studies participation in electric generation and transmission projects.
  • 1975 - Voters approve Electric Revenue Bond to finance studies, construction and buy rights in electrical generation and transmission projects throughout the western United States.
  • 1976-1983 - The city buys most of its power supply from Edison, but saves millions of dollars by making economy energy purchases from Nevada Power and other utilities in the western United States.
  • 1983 - Anaheim begins receiving power from its ownership share of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, Units 2 and 3.
  • 1986 - Anaheim first receives power from its participation share in the Intermountain Power Project in central Utah.
  • 1990 - The Peaking Power Plant begins commercial operation. Powered by 48mw GE gas turbine the plant is capable of providing power to 36,000 residents.
  • 1991 - The Public Utilities Board and City Council approve a 5-year undergrounding plan. This marks the beginning of a 60-year program to underground 12 and 69 kV lines along major streets.
  • 1998 - With the arrival of electric restructuring in California, Anaheim Public Utilities emerges as one of Southern California's best-rated electric companies and Anaheim residents enjoy the lowest electric rates in Orange County - 15% lower!
  • 1998 - The city initiated a strategic options process to explore electric industry restructuring alternative that would be in the best interest of Anaheim citizens.
  • 2002 - Anaheim Public Utilities partnered with the Anaheim Police department and installed a 10 kW solar roof that helps to supplement electric power usage at the station.
  • 2006 - Park Substation, the first underground electric substation built under a park in the United States, begins operations with the capacity to provide power to 25,000 residential customers. The station continues to be a model for other utilities to visit, tour and educate themselves on how they can replicate the facility.
  • 2008 - Renovations to Lewis Substation allow for over 45,000 feet of undergrounding. The Vermont Substation begins operation and adds increased reliability to our electric system.
  • 2009 - Anaheim Public Utilities was able to partner with Anaheim Community Services and secure a grant for $350,000 to help fund Energy Park, a much needed 3-acre park featuring:
    • A play space
    • Artificial turf field
    • Solar panels that produce enough electricity to power 20 homes annually
    • Sustainable landscaping
  • 2012 - Dedicated in 2012, Canyon Power Plant is a state of the art 200-megawatt natural gas powered generating plant. The facility received silver LEED certification by utilizing systems that limit environmental impact, these included, using 100% recycled water and powering the control room with solar energy. The Canyon Power Plant produces enough energy to power 150,000 residential customers annually.
  • 2014 - The 2.4 megawatt Anaheim Solar Energy Plant is the single largest city-owned photovoltaic system installation on a convention center in North America. The clean energy produced by the Anaheim Solar Energy Project will contribute to Anaheim Public Utilities’ overall energy portfolio. The energy produced will help assist the Anaheim electricity grid during peak season when the demand for energy is greatest.
Detailed History
Read an historical narrative about electric history in Anaheim.