In 1905, Summerland was the first community in the Okanagan Valley to generate its own electrical power. The small square building in the centre of this picture was Summerland’s Electric Light Plant. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)

Summerland had first electrical system in Okanagan Valley

Community’s electrical utility was created in 1905

In 1905, Summerland was the first Okanagan community to generate its own electricity.

Using the flow of Shaughnessy Springs water, the Pelton Water Wheel generated electricity. With growth, larger generators were needed.

By 1917, there were plans to combine water flow from Aeneas and Prairie Creeks. These plans were dropped in 1921 when the municipality of Summerland agreed to use electricity from West Kootenay Power and Light Company.

READ ALSO: FortisBC sees record-high summer electricity usage in Okanagan and Kootenays

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Summerland’s utilities were developed and upgraded by Sir Thomas Shaughnessy’s Summerland Development Company.

In 1910, Shaughnessy sold the utilities to the municipality.

During C.J. Thompson’s time as mayor, from 1907 to 1914, the council continued to improve and expand the road, water and electrical systems.

To improve and expand the electrical system, Thompson’s council considered expanding the sources of water for the electrical generator to include the water from Prairie Creek and Aeneas Creek.

Water from Prairie Creek was to be stored near the Anglican Stone Church and Aeneas Creek water stored near the present-day Summerland Legion.

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