Baton Rouge Electric Company ( Now Entergy )

Baton Rouge Electric Company ( Now Entergy )

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Baton Rouge Electric Company ( Now Entergy )
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Beautifully engraved SPECIMEN certificate from the Baton Rouge Electric Company. This historic document was printed by the American Banknote Company in the 1920's and has an ornate border around it with a vignette of an allegorical woman holding a lightening bolt in the clouds.
Certificate Vignette During the late 1800s, many power companies served Southeast Texas and South Louisiana. Some failed and others were merged into larger units and holding companies, where the pooled resources of the myriad of small operators translated into greater strength. In 1888 one of Gulf States Utilities' corporate ancestors, Beaumont Ice, Light and Refrigeration Company, did just about everything for the cattle and lumber town of 3,000. The company sold electricity and ice, furnished water, and even ran a meat market. At about the same time in Baton Rouge, local businessmen formed the Baton Rouge Electric Light and Power Company. Like its counterpart in Beaumont Baton Rouge Electric was a diversified business that by the turn of the century had bought several small companies. In 1890, the company changed owners and became the Baton Rouge Electric and Gas Company. A holding company formed during that time, Eastern Texas Electric (under the control of the Boston engineering firm Stone & Webster), eventually led to the creation of GSU. A series of mergers and acquisitions of various ice, water, gas, and transportation properties culminated on August 25, 1925, in the incorporation of a single company - Gulf States Utilities - charged with the task of providing electricity, gas, water, and ice to the public. In general, there were three years in which major acquisitions occurred to form the basis of the GSU service area of today. In 1926, Louisiana Electric Company and Eastern Texas Electric were brought into GSU and with them such properties as Jennings Utilities and Lake Charles Electric Company in Louisiana and the ice, water, and light utilities of Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Silsbee in Texas. The next major expansion brought in Western Public Service in 1929, which included the area in Texas that now makes up the bulk of GSU's pre-merger Western Division, including the cities of Conroe, Navasota, Cleveland, Huntsville, Liberty, and Dayton. The final major expansion occurred in 1938, when the eastern part of the Louisiana service territory was formed by a merger of GSU with its sister companies, the Baton Rouge Electric Company and the Louisiana Steam Generating Corporation. Other isolated acquisitions during 1925-1938 added to the fast-growing GSU system, which now served an area that at one time had been served by more than 60 different power companies. Plant and facility investments grew steadily with the increased demand for utility services in a growing geographic area. The petroleum-related industries of the region, spurred by the huge Spindletop oil strike in 1901, created a ready and increasing market for electricity. Firms that depended on the timber, cotton, sugar cane, salt, and sulphur resources of the area also increased the demand for reliable electric service. Neches Station near Beaumont was constructed soon after incorporation to serve as a major generation source at one end of the system. Louisiana Station was acquired in the 1938 acquisitions, followed by construction of additional generating plants in load centers of the system: Roy S. Nelson Station near Lake Charles and Willow Glen Station south of Baton Rouge went into service in 1960, Sabine Station near Port Arthur in 1962, Lewis Creek Station near the city of Conroe in 1970, and Nelson Coal near Lake Charles in 1982. In the latter part of the 1970s, GSU entered the age of nuclear power with the start of construction on River Bend Station. GSU's 940 MW boiling water reactor put power into the GSU transmission and distribution system for the first time in December 1985, The unit was declared to be in commercial operation in June 1986. While River Bend provided additional fuel diversity and a substantial capacity reserve, the plant was controversial. While the plant was under construction, the growth in electricity demand stopped, and even declined in some years. This caused regulators to question the need for the plant. Ultimately the LPSC disallowed a portion of the plant' s cost in the rate base. This resulted in the deterioration of GSU's financial condition, which was one of the factors that led to the merger of GSU with Entergy. The performance of the plant has also been criticized by the U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, spurting Entergy to embark on a three-year program to improve it to the standards of the four other nuclear generating units in the Entergy System. In addition, Cajun Electric Power Cooperative, Inc., which owns 30% of River Bend, filed suit against GSU in June of 1989, alleging that the company misrepresented construction costs for the plant so as to encourage Cajun's participation in the project. The object of the suit is to dissolve its 1979 contractual agreement with GSU regarding River Bend and to recover its $1.6 billion investment in the unit. On April 12, 1994, a federal judge began hearing the portion of the suit to rescind the Operating Agreement, If the judge does not rescind the agreement and Cajun decides to go ahead with related claims that GSU violated the terms of the contract, a jury trial would start in October 1994. Cajun has partially withheld funds for its 30% share of certain operations and maintenance costs. This issue is also in litigation. In November of 1992 two of Cajun's rural electric power cooperative members also filed suit against GSU asking the federal court to dissolve Cajun's share of River Bend. This suit is being processed in conjunction with Cajun's 1989 suit. On December 31, 1993, Gulf States Utilities became Entergy's newest utility subsidiar


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