LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 16, 2012) — A number of anniversary commemorations are planned over the next year as Kentucky Utilities Company — KU — and Louisville Gas and Electric Company — LG&E — celebrate their 100th birthdays. The centennial year kicks off with a historical display at the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville through Aug. 26.
LG&E, which traces its roots to an 1838 predecessor company, supplied natural gas and electricity to the booming river town of Louisville. Kentucky Utilities, based in Lexington, brought the wonder of electricity to rural Kentucky from the eastern mountains to the western border. Both companies emerged from stiff competition among many different gas and electric predecessor firms.
The first celebration milestone is Friday, commemorating the date back in 1912 when New Yorker Harry Reid sold his Versailles electric company and became general manager of a new company called Kentucky Utilities Company, which was part of Chicago-based Middle West Corporation. Reid came to central Kentucky seven years earlier to buy the Versailles power plant, with a vision of creating a network of electricity generating plants.
To cap off the year-long centennial celebration, one of the final milestones will take place July 2, 2013. It was on that date in 1913 that entrepreneur H.M. Byllesby consolidated the Louisville Gas Company, the Louisville Lighting Company and the Kentucky Heating Company to form Louisville Gas and Electric Company. LG&E was owned by Standard Gas and Electric system, which served 5.5 million customers in 19 states at the time.
Those two events — and many more — are captured in the display at the fair. Included in the booth will be a number of photographs, company artifacts and a video highlighting KU and LG&E’s history.
“Both LG&E and KU have rich histories that we are proud to celebrate with our customers and employees,” said Victor A. Staffieri, chairman, CEO and president of LG&E and KU. “During our centennial observance, we honor KU and LG&E and the outstanding qualities that define the companies today: dedicated employees, corporate citizenship, a commitment to safety and customer satisfaction, reliable service and low-cost energy — reasons for us all to celebrate.”
Visit www.lge-ku.com for a timeline of events in the life of both companies.