Lehman Brothers Collection - Contemporary Business Archives

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Lehman Brothers Collection

Twentieth-Century Business Archives

Gulf States Utilities Company - Lehman Brothers Collection

Gulf States Utilities Company

List of Deals

Gulf States Utilities Company (GSU) traces its history to the pre-Civil War period, when the Baton Rouge Gas Light Company, GSU's earliest ancestor, began operations. In the early 1900s an engineering firm based in Boston—Stone & Webster—acquired several companies and eventually established a holding company called Eastern Texas Electric. This holding company led to the creation of Gulf States Utilities, which was incorporated in 1925 after a series of mergers involving ice, water, gas, and transportation properties.

GSU expanded through the 1920s. Less than a week after its incorporation, the new company purchased the Orange Ice, Light, and Water Company. The following year the company acquired Louisiana Electric Company and in 1929 purchased Western Public Service. The company survived the Depression years and even managed to grow during the 1930s. World War II brought further expansion for GSU. Power demands decreased after the war, however, as production for defense was reduced. During that time, GSU was able to extend service to new customers, promoting, for example, an active program of rural electrification. During the late 1940s and 1950s the company pursued an aggressive construction effort, expanding existing plants and building new ones. During the 1940s alone, the number of GSU's electrical customers more than doubled. During this period, the company's electric revenues almost tripled, surpassing $25 million by 1950. Following the successes of the post-World War II period, GSU was forced to adapt to new conditions during the 1960s and 1970s. As a result of diminishing supplies of natural gas and oil, the utility explored other sources of energy. Coal and nuclear energy became increasingly important as GSU diversified its fuel mix.

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