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Lehman Brothers Collection

Twentieth-Century Business Archives

Utah Power & Light Company - Lehman Brothers Collection

Utah Power & Light Company

List of Deals

Utah Power & Light Company was organized on September 6, 1912, as a subsidiary of a large holding company, Electric Bond and Share Company (EBASCO) of New York, to consolidate dozens of large and small electric power companies in Utah and surrounding states. Holding companies were increasingly popular in the United States beginning in the early twentieth century and reached their peak in the 1920s. They were particularly prevalent with the utility industry. By 1929 a group of sixteen generated over 80 percent of all electric energy in the country, and three systems accounted for over 45 percent.

Following its formation, Utah Power set out to acquire other electric companies and unify them into one large integrated “super power system” rather than operate them as separate, independent entities. Within four years it had purchased twenty-seven utility companies and eventually absorbed more than 130. By 1922, on its tenth anniversary, Utah Power had made considerable progress towards its goal. It served 205 communities in four states, had 83,000 customers, and operated forty generating plants with an installed capacity of 224,000 kilowatts. Four newly built or expanded plants on the Bear River provided half of that capacity. Each of the forty plants was connected through a system of high-voltage transmission lines with a new main distribution center in Salt Lake City. Many other new substations were built during this period, and distribution lines were upgraded and extended. Bear Lake was developed as a storage reservoir, with twenty-three miles of inlet and outlet channels that carried the entire flow of the Bear River in and out of the lake, and a pumping station, capable of delivering 3,000 acre-feet of water per day, was built at the north end.

The 1920s were financially stable times for Utah Power. Gross revenues between 1923 and 1927 ranged from $10.1 million in 1923 to $11.4 million in 1925, $10.6 million in 1927, and $10.8 million in 1928.

In March 1925 Electric Bond and Share Company liquidated Utah Securities Corporation. Utah Securities was a holding company owned by Electric Bond and Share Company, and it was through this subsidiary that Electric Bond controlled Utah Power. After the liquidation, Utah Power became a subsidiary of a new Electric Bond and Share subsidiary, Electric & Power Light Corporation.

In 1930 Utah Power sold $4 million of first mortgage five percent gold bonds, the proceeds of which were used to reimburse the company for expenditures made for additions to property.

Utah Power earned $1.36 million on operating revenues of $11.8 million in 1936.

Utah Power underwent a reorganization plan in 1944 at the encouragement of the S.E.C., whereby Utah Power recapitalized with one class of common stock, which was sold to the public. Utah also acquired and cancelled the shares held by Electric & Power Light. The effect was that Utah was no longer under the control of Electric Power & Light.

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