The AMLP's History
The AMLP works for you for over 100 years.
The Story of Providing Power to Ashburnham, MA
For over a century, Ashburnham Electric Light Plant has been providing dependable electrical power to the residents, businesses and institutions of our town. Because we're owned by our customers, the community’s goals and ours are the same: low rates and dependable service provided by people that are invested the community they serve.
Check out our Timeline below.
A Business Plan
4 entrepreneurial men from Fitchburg and Ashby decided that they could bring power to the citizens of Ashburnham and profit from it. They chose a location for their power plant at Factory Village Pond, west of Fitchburg Rd/Rte 12. The water's 62' drop over the dam was perfect—or so they thought, for a lot of electric power generation. So, Greene Electric Company of Ashburnham was born.
On, Then Off
Their power plant was complete and put into operation by 1902. There were about 60 customers. It cost $2 or less to light a house for one month. However, the electricity was on only from 5pm to midnight—and then it was lights-out until the next evening because there were no known ways to store electricity. After just a few seasons, it was discovered that the pond didn't hold enough water to provide year round power. The company went out of business and Ashburnham returned to candlepower in 1904.
And Ashburnham was dark for 3 very long years.
Power To, For & By The Town
At a series of Special Town Meetings in late-1907, citizens of Ashburnham decided to buy the remaining equipment and assets of the defunct Greene Electric Company for $5,000, and monies were raised for a Municipal Light Plant to be formed, owned by the taxpayers. Ashburnham Municipal Light Plant was formally established at the last of those meetings on October 29, 1907.
The new light plant was initially run by the Town Selectmen. The first 3-member Light Board was elected in March of 1908, but the Selectmen retained control of rates and the reconstruction of a system that would work for the town.
First Lines In
The first electric lines into the town came from Gardner to South Ashburnham, where the first electric switching station was located at the Royal Willards Butcher Shop on South Main Street. An unfortunate reality of being located in an old butcher shop is that the accumulation of brine leftover from the butcher operation would make the transformer go off like a cannon at times—so, transformers were moved to the top of two poles out front.
AMLP's first manager, Mason Gates, was hired in 1909. Two years later, a 7-year renewal contract was signed for power from Gardner Power Company. In 1915, Amedee Roy was hired as AMLP's Manager, where he stayed until his retirement in 1955. During this time, a solid foundation and electrical infrastructure was built. Although funds were tight, AMLP survived and performed admirably for Ashburnham.
During the tough year of 1929 and the beginning of The Great Depression, a movement was afoot to sell AMLP. There was a fact-finding committee report in favor of selling in 1930. A Special Town Meeting in 1931 even determined a price of $70,000 with conditions. It looked like all was lost for the AMLP. But the Special Meeting required to sell never was called and Ashburnham Municipal Light Plant remained a town asset.
Decades & Growth
AMLP grew over the decades from 50 customers to 1,500 by 1963. Our $5,000 purchase value grew to over $250,000 plus reserve funds for emergencies.
We also moved from the old butcher shop to a new headquarters on Central Street/Route 101 between Fletcher's Farm (near the new Public Safety Building) and Cushing Academy.
AMLP's New Millennium
The century has been full of major developments and projects here at AMLP. Here are just some of the achivements by the Light Board, our General Managers and team:
- 2002—New Headquarters on Williams Rd:
AMLP designed and built an integrated office and equipment storage facility at 24 Williams Rd.
- 2007—Downtown Underground Utilities:
For our 100th anniversary and contribution to our town, AMLP buried electric, cable and phone wires in Ashburnham's downtown on Main Street and removed the aesthetically-intrusive poles and overhead wires.
- 2008-2011—3 Solar Arrays for Green Power Generation:
AMLP designed and installed 3 solar systems at Oakmont Regional High School, the Public Safety Building and adjacent to our new headquarters at 24 Williams Rd. You can view the live outputs on our website's Home Page.
- 2009-2011—Berkshire Wind Project:
AMLP became one of 14 municipal electric utilities to form a cooperative to harvest wind for power. Berkshire Wind is a 10-turbine, 15-megawatt wind renewable power generation facility that began operations on May 28, 2011 after two years of development and construction.
- 2013—20 Acre Solar Field:
A 4MW solar farm built by groSolar on Murray Road. The project included the clearing of land and the design and installation of two cutting edge technologies on the site: Conventional Solar PV modules with two Central Inverters and an innovative Photovoltaic system by tenK Solar.
- 2017 Battery Storage:
In late-2017, the AMLP received a $600,000 grant from the Department of Energy Resources toward the installation of a 3MW/5MWH Lithium Ion Energy Storage Facility on Turnpike Road opposite the substation.
- 2002—New Headquarters on Williams Rd:
Read more about AMLP's History, written for the town's Bicentennial year in 1965 by clicking here.
AMLP'S GENERAL MANAGERS THROUGH TIME
|August 2017 - present||Kevin M. Sullivan|
|August 2014 - July 2017||Michael Rivers|
|March 1998 - July 2014||Stan Herriott|
|May 1994 - December 1997||Thomas E. Lewis, Jr.|
|March 1970 - April 1994||Robert Gould|
|January 1969 - February 1970||Henry B. Pierce|
|June 1968 - December 1968||Donald LaFortune|
|1967 - May 1968||Carl E. Jensen|
|1953 - 1966||Tilmon E. Bourgeois|
|1917 - 1952||Amedee F. Roy|
|1910 - 1916||Mason E. Gates|
|1909||Herbert Orlando Elliott|