Longmont Power & Communications: Growing with the Community
Population growth made demands for more electric power inevitable. With monthly expenditures for power to supplement the Hydroelectric plant exceeing $20,000, the City decided to build its own auxiliary power plant. In November 1930, City Council Authorized construction of a new diesel-powered generation plant.
The Longmont Municipal Light and Power Plant, located near the area of First and Main Street, began operation the next year and tripled generation capacity. About that time, the distribution system was also rebuilt with heavier tansformers and trunk lines. Eventually, however, increasing diesel fuel prices made the diesel plant impractical to retain, even for emergency power. It was dismantled and sold in July 1967.
By the mid 1940's the City's growing electrical needs again exceeded existing capacity. To fill this extra demand, the Terry Street Substation was completed and, in 1946, the Bureau of Reclamation built transmission lines to carry electricity to Longmont from federal power sources
In the 1960's, the Bureau of Reclamation notified the City that it would no longer be building hydroelectric dams. The announcement and continued population growth in Longmont prompted city leaders to continue their serarch for new sources of electric power.
In 1973, the City joined three other front range communities (Fort Collins, Loveland and Estes Park) with municipally-owned utilities to create Platte River Power Authority (PRPA). Platte River would act on behalf of the communities to obtain additional electric power and to create its own power sources. This decision ushered in a new era in power management for Longmont, one that has become instrumental in providing for growth while retaining low rates.
PRPA explored ways to meet the continually growing power needs of its four member cities. It began building the coal-fired Rawhide Power Plant in the town of Wellington just north of Fort Collins in 1975. In 1983, the plant began providing power to the four cities.
In 1997, City Council authorized construction of a fiber optic backbone in an effort to bring competitive prices for telecommunications services. The investment prompted the Electric Department to change its name to Longmont Power & Communications, reinforcing the City's commitment to its citizens and to Longmont's business community.
Eight years after the establishment of its fiber optic backbone, the City of Longmont lost the right to use this asset with the passage of Senate Bill 152. This resulted in the enactment of Title 29, Article 27 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, restricting the City's ability to provide telecommunications services to the community, either independently or in partnership with the private sector, unless a ballot question that reinstates that right was passed.
In 2011, Longmont voters were given the opportunity to reinstate this right and the ballot initiative on this issue was passed by a 60% majority. This 2011 vote once again represented the will of Longmont citizens and their desire to self-determine how to best provide services for the community's benefit.
With prudent use of this asset, LPC will support the community's growth in the next century.
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