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Georgia Power celebrates 140 years of powering Georgia

On December 3, 2023, Georgia Power celebrated 140 years of powering the Peach State. From the company’s humble beginnings as Georgia Electric Light Company of Atlanta to serving millions of residents across the state, Georgia Power has remained steadfast in the commitment to provide our customers with reliable energy, support the growth of our communities and be a ‘Citizen Wherever We Serve.’

Atlanta was rapidly growing in the late 1800s and in turn, there was a growing demand for newly invented electrical lighting across the city. The citizens rallied together to support the formation of an electric company and in 1883 Georgia Electric Light Company of Atlanta was formed. Within the first year of operations, the company built a 940-kilowatt generating plant and installed 22 electric streetlights. Year after year, operations rapidly expanded and under the leadership of Henry Atkinson in the 1890s, Atlanta became known as one of the best lit cities in the country with thousands of lights scattered over ten square miles. 

Through several acquisitions in the early 1900s, the company continued to evolve as the electrical system expanded with the addition of new power generating plants, including a network of hydroelectric plants – the company’s original clean energy source. The construction of thousands of miles of transmission and distribution lines carried power to light homes and businesses and run new appliances and equipment to an ever-expanding customer base. The company grew from Atlanta into every part of the state, and by 1927, the officially renamed Georgia Power Company was serving over 62,000 customers.

As the need for energy dramatically increased over the next several decades, Georgia Power was quick to adapt by expanding the company’s network and energy capacity. Over 200 million dollars was invested in the construction of new generating plants such as Plant McManus, Mitchell, Hammond and Yates as well as the expansion of existing plants. By the mid-1950s, the system’s capacity had climbed to a then-staggering 1.7 million kilowatts. 

In the coming years, Georgia Power proved to be a leader in the utility industry from building the nation’s first tubular-steel transmission line in 1957, to operating the top generating coal-fired plant in the U.S., Plant Bowen, in the 1970s and constructing the first nuclear facility in the state of Georgia, Plant Hatch, in 1974. 

With the dawn of the new millennium in 2000 and technological developments, the energy landscape in the United States and in Georgia continued to advance. In an effort to further enhance both the business and the customer experience, Georgia Power introduced a new electronic billing program in 2001 called e-bill and then initiated a revolutionary Smart Meter program in 2008. During this period, the company invested billions of dollars to add environmental controls and continue to reduce emissions at its power plants. These investments in the generation fleet along with other factors, reduced carbon emissions from power plants by more than 60% since 2007, and other emissions by more than 95% since 1990, while continuing to provide reliable service to a growing population in the state.

After nearly a century and a half, Georgia Power remains a faithful steward of the environment and fully committed to the transition to clean energy through a growing number of solar projects, improvements to the company’s original hydroelectric generating fleet, construction of new nuclear units at Plant Vogtle and investments in electric transportation infrastructure. Always embracing the latest technological developments, Georgia Power has continued to improve service to customers by investing heavily in the state’s power system through smart grid enhancements and upgrades designed to make the system even more resilient.

While many facets of the company have evolved over the past 140 years, Georgia Power’s dedication to our customers and the communities we serve is stronger than ever and will continue to remain unwavering for the next 140 years to come.