Electric Lights

By dhowell - Posted on 28 December 2007

The light plant.

This community has seen many changes since John Moran lit the kerosene lamps along Main Street. In the early 1890s, J. H. Kingsley, approached the village concerning electric lights for the village. Kingsley had been operating the Premium Mills on the Raisin River at the east village limits.

On February 10, 1892, he was given a ten-year franchise "to do a general lighting business. The contract called for furnishing fifty 32-candle lights for the street and alleys ... to cost $700 a year payable in monthly installments. The cost to the consumer was not to be over 600 a month for each 16 candle power light." The electric light plant was to begin operation by May 1, 1892.

On July 17, 1895, a new contract for three years for a total of $2,100 was signed with Kingsley by the council. This called for 52 lights of 30-candle power and four 100-candle power. The street lights were to go on at 5 p.m. or twilight from Oct. 6 to March 10. They could be turned off at day light.

In checking council proceedings of Dec. 21, 1922, council ordered that "no porch light should be over 40 watts and should not burn after daylight." At that time the electric light plant was owned by the village and porch lights were not on the property owners electric meters. At another time the council approved a light pole and light on Duncan street in front of Joe Seckingers so that Seckingers wouldn't have to leave their porch light on all night unless they wanted to.

On March 15, the Bridgewater township supervisor attended council meeting to protest a dollar charge for line rent for the Bridgewater townhall and school house. Their reasoning was that they gave a franchise to their property for the light poles. Council decided that the rate should be the same as the rest of the patrons.

In December, 1923, by order of council all porch lights were to be out by 1 a.m. Violators were to be charged 50 cents penalty.

When Bennett C. Root was president of the village a special election was held August 31, 1925, to sell the distribution and lighting system to the Consumers Power Co. for the sum of $15,000. The vote was 278 yes and 103 no.

The franchise was assigned to Consumers Power in 1926.

In Manchester Township at this time (Aug. 1967) there are 408 residential; 24 commercial; and 6 industrial consumers of electricity, for a total of 438. In the village there are 557 residential; 107 commercial; and 7 industrial consumers, for a total of 671.

Consumers Power Co. reports that the number for gas consumption in Manchester township totals 14. Seven are residential space heating; 4 commercial space heating and 3 industrial space heating for a total of 14 consumers. Village gas consumption: residential - 7; residential space heating - 396; commercial space heating - 54 and industrial - 5. This makes a total of 476 gas consumers in the village of Manchester.