HOISINGTON — The city of Hoisington provides electric power to about 1,611 customers, including about 52 customers located outside the city but within its service territory.
This power is delivered to Hoisington at 34.5 kilovolts via an interconnection, and stepped down to the city’s two distribution voltages: 2,400 V and 7,200 V. The city owns and maintains about 36 miles of distribution lines, mostly overhead lines and some underground lines. This first section is from the Hoisington Centennial publication.
Currently, the department is responsible for the electrical requirements for customers in the distribution area. These requirements are provided from the electrical generation units and from a 12.47 kilovolt interconnect with Sunflower Electric Cooperative which is divided into several smaller coops. Hoisington falls under the Western Cooperative Electric. The plant is operated and maintained by three full time employees, who take care of four generating units and all auxiliary equipment.
These machines are: two Caterpillars rated at 1135kw (1770hp), six Worthingtons rated at 2000kw (2807hp), seven Worthingtons rated at 3750kw (5528hp) and eight Enterprizes rated at 7000kw (9628hp).
The city can generate its own power when it is disconnected from the electrical grid due to emergency situations, bad weather or maintenance repairs.
J.E. Sponsellar was granted a 20 year franchise for an electric light system for Hoisington on March 14, 1903. Arc lights, which were used first, consisting of a carbon sitting perpendicular under a reflector. When the current was turned on, the two carbons glowed where they touched and, after jumping back and forth for several moments, held their position and produced a glaring white light. These replaced oil-burning lamp posts.
The franchise furnished the lights at 75 cents a month for less than four lights and 50 cents a month each for four or more lights. Arc lights for the streets were $5 per month; if lights burned all night, ½ more was charged.
In November 1905, when parts of Great Bend was destroyed by a tornado, an emergency power plant was built in Hoisington. The Hoisington Light and Power Company transmission line to Otis was completed, and the “juice” was turned on for the first time on Monday, Aug. 8, 1921. Galatia held an election in September 1921 to vote on bonds to run transmission line to their town.
In August 1925, the Hoisington Electric and Ice Company built a new high power transmission line from Great Bend to Hoisington.
The Hoisington Municipal Light Plant was voted on and passed in May 1935. In December of the same year, the Champlin Contracting Company of Wichita was awarded the contract for the construction of the plant.
The engines started in July 1938. The city laid cable for the lights on Main Street. When the work was finished, they connected it to the power plant.
To this day, the plant provides electricity.
Information for this story came from the city of Hoisington.