History

Electricity was first brought to Le Sueur by W.H. Patten, one of the town's earliest settlers. Patten and family came in 1854 and eventually built the town's first general store, creamery, elevator and warehouse. In 1888, Patten built the first Le Sueur Electric Light plant to supply his own need for electric lights. At first Patten put the lights only in his store. Later, he extended them to his home (northeast corner of Bridge and N. 2nd). Soon everyone began to want electric lights - especially other business people. Patten complied, sharing the early electric service only during evening hours when his elevator, creamery and store were not in operation.

Patten ultimately built a larger plant with a larger dynamo and distributed electricity to all who asked for it. He ran this plant, by a special grant from the City, until 1896. Patten's system was known as the "Mayo" direct current system and supplied energy for both arc and incandescent lights.

With the City growing, the power needs began to outpace Patten's ability to provide adequate supply. At a special election in October, 1895, the voters authorized a $20,000 bond issue as a fund for water and light development. And, after some initial difficulties, a 100 horse-power steam engine was installed in the 38 x 60-feet light plant and finally began furnishing electricity in 1896.

By the mid-1960's, power demand again began to outpace local production capacity. So, in 1964, the City, with regional power supplier NSP, installed the first set of transmission lines to enable the City to purchase power from outside our local generation station. And, in 1986, the City built a second set of line to act as backup and to prepare for eventual phasing out of the local generating engines. The aging generators were becoming more costly to operate by the year, and by 1991, all engines were decommissioned.

In May of 1992, the City of Le Sueur and 7 other Municipals formed MMPA (MN Municipal Power Agency). MMPA is responsible for all our wholesale power supply for it's members. This enables us to shop around for the best wholesale prices. That allows its members to be very competitive in the Minnesota electric energy market.