Gulf Power Company is an energy provider and subsidiary of NextEra Energy, Inc. Our beginnings go back to 1926, when Gulf Power Company became a public utility. Today we serve nearly half a million customers in 71 towns and communities throughout Northwest Florida.
Our customers are at the center of everything we do. Our mission is to safely provide exceptional customer value by delivering reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible electricity while strengthening our communities.
Gulf Power’s origins date all the way back to February 10, 1925, when Southeastern Power and Light Company purchased the Pensacola Electric Company. Southeastern was a holding company which operated electric, gas and street railway systems in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. Later that year, Gulf Power Company was organized as a Southeastern subsidiary. On February 6, 1926, Gulf Power Company became an actual operating public utility as it acquired the Chipley Light and Power Company. Later that year, the Pensacola Electric Company, which had been rescued from receivership by the holding company, was merged into Gulf Power.
Early generation of electricity came from at least 20 scattered, isolated and individually operating units. These generators had been designed to supply power for ice plants, lumber yards and electric transit systems and were not known for their reliability. Despite the depressed economic condition of Northwest Florida, a move toward modernization was virtually forced upon Gulf Power. The hurricane of Sept. 6, 1926, with 120 mph winds, ripped out nearly 4,000 rotting power poles. To make matters worse, the storm surge of nine feet above normal put out the fires in the old downtown Pensacola generating plant. More than 600 workers from sister companies restored service with a more modern system in a mere 65 days. By year’s end, a 110,000 volt transmission line had been erected from the Alabama/Florida line on the north, into Pensacola. The old Allis-Chalmers steam turbine-generator was placed on standby, ending the era of local power generation.
Gulf Power relied on imported energy for the next 39 years, even as customer numbers rose from the 7,366 inherited in 1926, to more than 40,000 in the mid 1940s. Finally, in 1945, after years of delay brought about by war shortages, the first unit at the "Crist Steam Plant" in Pensacola went online. The 22-megawatt unit enabled the company to take its first giant step toward generating self-sufficiency.
Headquartered in Pensacola, Fla., Gulf Power continues to grow and is an active participant in the economic development arena. With nearly $1.1 billion invested in its facilities, the company aggressively seeks to expand its customer base while retaining the valuable customers which are so important to Northwest Florida.
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