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Our History

The city of Coggon had electricity before the establishment of the Coggon Municipal Light Plant.  It was served by another electric company.  The transformers that served the city were located on 2nd Street South.  Due to a fire that destroyed these transformers, the city was without electric power.  The company serving Coggon at the time did not feel that it was their responsibility to replace the transformers.  The city did not feel that it was their responsibility either.  In October of 1928, the city council decided to establish their own power company for the city of Coggon.
The city council at that time consisted of Mayor, L.A. Hinton.  The council members were:  Fred Jossie, Lynn Savage, Harry Knott, Earl Scott and G.M. Kendall.  The city clerk was F.W. Lindahl and the Treasurer was D.D. Johnson.
On October 8, 1928 the city purchased a Fairbanks Morse, 2 cylinder diesel engine for the sum of $24,950.  The engine was started on November 26, 1928.  A permanent building was built around the engine in December of 1928 which is still part of the existing plant today.
The first two employees of the plant were Harry Lyons, Superintendent and Clair Freeman.
On October 17, 1933 a one cylinder diesel engine was purchased from Fairbanks Morse.  As the load increased and the city of Coggon grew, a three cylinder Fairbanks Morse diesel unit was added in 1938.  A four cylinder Fairbanks Morse engine was added in 1948.  This replaced two one cylinder engines that were then retired in 1953.  The light plant was voted to be put under a three person board of trustees by the people of Coggon.  The members of the city council at this time were Mayor, L.A. Hinton.  The council members were Jerry Boone, Vic Williams, W.M. Crosier, Dr. Ondler and Dr. Hollis Hunter.  The City Clerk was L.J. Henderson and the Treasurer was L.M. Henderson.
The first trustees of the Coggon Municipal Light Plant were Gaylord O'Dassa, Wayne Hinton and Elmer Jossie.  The Clerk was William Caldwell and the Superintendent was Elmer Wendt.  Elmer was replaced by Don Wurt in 1959.  Don Wurt served as Superintendent for seven years.  Buck Devoraux, Vernon Lawrence and Dan Johnson served as Superintendents up to 1970 until Robert Farley took on the position for 30 years.
In 1953 the light plant purchased a 200 kilowatt five cylinder Fairbanks Morse diesel engine and built an addition to the south and east part of the plant.  They also replaced an old cooling tower with a radiator to cool the engines.
In 1957 the light plant rebuilt its lines in town at a cost of $110,000.  As the use of electricity increased, an addition was added to the west side of the plant to house an additional radiator and auxiliary equipment for the new 700 kilowatt diesel engine, which was installed in 1964 at a cost of $75,000.  And yet another engine was installed, a 650 kilowatt White Superior diesel engine.  This gave Coggon an additional generating capacity to the increasing demand of electricity.  In addition to the engine a five million BTU radiator was installed.  The radiator had the capacity to cool off the engines.
In 2003 the two megawatt Cummins generator was purchased and installed.  In 2014 the old plant sub station was decommissioned and new switch gear was installed.  The Cummins generator was synchronized with the new switch gear to automatically go on line in the event that the transmission lines that feed Coggon are disrupted.  The Fairbanks Morse and White Superior engines were retired in 2014.  Currently the Cummins generator is the only running engine in the plant.
The Coggon Municipal Light Plant is a member of the Resale Power Group of Iowa.  RPGI is a group of utilities that have joined together to purchase power for resale.  The group has been able to negotiate contracts for power that provide much better pricing and terms then each of the individual utilities are able to get on their own.
The people of Coggon can be thankful to the 1928 city council for building the Coggon Municipal Light Plant.

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