Lehman Brothers Collection - Contemporary Business Archives

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Lehman Brothers Collection

Twentieth-Century Business Archives

British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority - Lehman Brothers Collection

British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority

List of Deals

The founding of the Victoria Gas Company in 1860 began the British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority legacy. Twenty-three years later, inventor and entrepreneur Robert McMicking turned on the first commercial electric lights in Canada. With a group of local investors, McMicking incorporated Victoria Electric Illuminating Company and electric lights lit up the streets. The age of electricity had arrived.

BC Electric was the brainchild of financier Robert Horne-Payne and future Lieutenant Governor Frank Barnard. With money raised from investors in England, they set out to build the coast's first hydroelectric plant near Victoria in 1898. The company prospered and grew, and in 1928 the Montreal-based Power Corporation took control of the company.

The provincial government created the BC Power Commission in 1945. This public- sector enterprise began acquiring small utilities, extending electrification into rural and isolated areas, and developing and modernizing both generating plants and transmission systems. Over 200 communities were being served throughout the province by 1961, many with small diesel-generating units.

The provincial government bought BC Electric in 1961 to further the development of Peace and Columbia River projects. A year later the government amalgamated BC Electric with the Power Commission to create a new Crown corporation: the British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority, locally known as BC Hydro. BC Hydro was engaged in the province of British Columbia principally in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electric energy and the distribution of gas. The company also engaged in the operation of an urban bus system, an inter-urban bus system, and a railway freight system. As of 1967 the distribution of services for the company in the five fiscal years was derived as follows: electric operations approximately 67 percent, gas operations 19 percent, passenger transportation 10 percent, and rail freight operations 4 percent.

The electric service area contained and served more than 90 percent of the population of the province.

BC Hydro took on some of the most ambitious hydroelectric construction projects in the world during the 1960s and 1970s.

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