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reported in the local newspaper that near the end of 1913, there were 125 subscribers of electric service.
The first Board of Public Utilities Commission was comprised of three individuals—Henry N. Edens, A. A. Laun and George Leverenz. On April 13, 1916, the make-up of the Commission was changed to five members consisting of Henry N. Edens (president), B. F. Arps (secretary), Otto Meili, Louis Weber, and Hermann M. Thiessen.
In the early 1920s inquiries were made regarding the extension of electric service into the rural areas. On Jan. 26, 1920 the commission moved that Rudolph Jocchinsen be allowed electric service “providing they build their own line beginning at the village limits.” Although unconfirmed, this may have been the utility’s first rural customer. In late 1921 the construction of a new “high tension” line occurred. The approval of a “farmer line” to be built along Hayton Road was made in August 1922. Then, on Nov. 9, 1922, the commission approved a request to build an electric light line to Charlesburg. This line was completed by early January 1923.
Garage built for storage
As the growth continued, the commission approved to build a 26’ x 26’ brick garage to store cars and materials in September 1924. The popularity of the telephone brought about the approval of the utility’s first pole contract with Wisconsin Telephone Company in March 1928.
Municipally owned and operated electric utilities grew tremendously in the first three decades of the 1900s. In order to serve the interests of community-owned utilities, the Wisconsin Municipal Utilities Association was formed in 1928. New Holstein became a member in 1933, paying the annual dues of $5.
Interest in electric service and growth in population spurred competition between utility companies. So, in 1938, the utility in New Holstein signed territorial agreements with the City of Kiel and with Wisconsin Public Service Corporation. Although these agreements have changed somewhat over the decades, most of the original agreements are still in place today.
The early 1940s saw much of the world impacted by World War II. National pride and unity swept through the country. Its impact was felt by the small utility in northeastern Wisconsin. On Jan. 21, 1942, the Utility Commission moved to approve the purchase of one $10,000 Series “F” Defense Bond in the amount of $7,400. On May 20, 1942, a motion was approved by the Utility Commission to purchase series “F” Defense Bonds at the rate of $555/month for a bond with a $750 maturity value. By January of 1943, the monthly purchase was increased to a bond with a maturity value of $1,000. Based on information in the Utility Commission meeting minutes, in addition to the monthly bond purchases, the Utility Commission had invested an additional $46,250 for Defense “War” Bonds with a maturity value of $62,500 by the end of World War II.
War impacts operations
World War II also impacted the operation of New Holstein’s power plant. The utility found it to be challenging to obtain fuel and to maintain the power plant. So, on Oct. 31, 1945, a wholesale power contract was approved between Wisconsin Public Service Corporation and the City of New Holstein. Then, in September 1948, the utility agreed to purchase an old transmission line on Hayton Road. Upon obtaining easements from property owners in the area, a new transmission line was constructed for the New Holstein area.
In the summer of 1947, the City of New Holstein and the Utility worked together to develop plans to improve the benefits of its employees. After months of discussion, plans were approved for a pension plan system; health and accident and a hospital plan; vacation schedule; and scheduled working hours.
At the January 1948 Utility Commission meeting, it was moved to accept the resignation of Carl F. Schmidt as superintendent of the Electric Utility. He was believed to have been the first superintendent of the Electric Utility and served the Utility for almost 36 years. He started as a power plant engineer. On March 17, 1948, Harold Loeser was hired to replace Mr. Schmidt effective April 1, 1948. However, because of Mr. Schmidt’s vast knowledge of the electric system, he was retained for a period of time following his retirement.
In addition to the new leadership at the Utility office, other organizational changes began to occur. At a special meeting on May 26, 1948, the Utility’s outside auditor made a recommendation that the water and electric bank accounts be consolidated into one joint account, pending the approval of the mayor and