New Holstein Utilities (NHU) is proud to be celebrating its centennial.
From a vision of a few members in the village of New Holstein back in 1912, the community-owned and operated utility now provides electric service to over 2,700 residential, agribusiness, commercial and industrial customers in the City of New Holstein and parts of five surrounding townships.
The following information provides some of the history of New Holstein Utilities.
On Election Day, June 20, 1912, the following question was posed to the voters of the Village of New Holstein: “Shall the Village of New Holstein have electric lights.” At the end of the day, 231 votes were cast with 152 (65.8 percent) voting “yes.” With those favorable votes, the history of New Holstein Utilities began.
Following the election, a committee was formed to get all necessary information and prices, as well as to select a site for the construction of a Municipal Lighting Plant. Three Village Board members and three citizen members were appointed. The Village Board members included John Schwalenberg, G. R. Seyfert and Henry Aggen. The citizen members were Henry N. Edens, A. A. Laun and William Riess.
$15,000 for first light plant
In August 1912 the Village Board adopted specifications for the construction of an Electric Light Plant and voted to spend up to $15,000 to build and equip the Electric Light Plant. The Archer Electric Company of Sheboygan secured the contract to build the plant and pole line for $9,250. The John Lauson Mfg. Company of New Holstein was selected to provide two 2,150 hp kerosene oil engines at a cost of $3,700. The remainder of the year was spent constructing the infrastructure. Several engineers were hired to operate the plant, including Carl Schmidt, who would eventually become the utility’s first superintendent.
On Monday, Dec. 23, 1912, the electric streetlights were turned on for the first time at 4:45 p. m. The Henry N. Edens residence was the first home to receive electric service when their service was installed on Jan. 3, 1913. At the time, electric rates were initially set for private dwellings at $.15/kWh and a minimum of $1/month. Shortly after the first residences received electric service, Bock and Nett (formerly Luethge’s Hotel and now known as The Beacon), was the first business to have electricity. It was